The purpose of assessing capacity is to determine by clinical interview whether the person is unable to make a legally effective decision. A functional test is used.

A person lacks capacity if they are unable to:

  • understand the nature and purpose of a particular decision and appreciate its significance for them;
  • retain relevant, essential information for the time required to make the decision;
  • use or weigh the relevant information as part of the reasoning process of making the decision and to consider the consequences of the possible options, (including the option of not making the decision); or
  • communicate their decision, either verbally, in writing or by some other means.


  © 2020 Alison Douglass