Pro bono matters

Training on mental capacity law

Date of publication: June 10, 2019

Mencap NI support people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.

The organisation is an NGO member of The PILS Project and their support services make sure that people with a learning disability can live their lives the way they choose.

In Northern Ireland, the law around people’s ability to make informed decisions for themselves (mental capacity) is contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2016. This legislation came into force in several stages, with the final phases being enacted in October and December 2019.

Mencap NI’s staff had a series of questions around how the law on mental capacity in Northern Ireland was due to change. Their advocacy team approached PILS for assistance. Through our Pro Bono Register, PILS were able to link Mencap up with legal practitioners who had detailed knowledge of the law.

In June 2019, a solicitor and a barrister visited Mencap NI’s centre in Belfast and delivered a training session based on the needs of the Mencap staff. It covered the law as it currently stood, discussed how it works in practice, as well as briefing staff on those legislative changes that were still due to come into effect in autumn 2019.