Capacity and the Law
Capacity is decision-making ability. The Law’s starting point is the assumption that all people aged 16 and over have ‘capacity’ to make decisions for themselves. Being able to make your own decisions is what is meant by self-determination.
Principles of capacity law
There are five core principles in the Law that everyone must use.
These are often referred to as:
- assumption of capacity
- practicable steps
- unwise decisions
- best interests
- less restrictive way
The Law says:
- a person, aged 16 and over, must be assumed to have capacity, unless it is shown that the person lacks capacity in relation to the decision
- a person in not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to enable that person to make the decision have been taken without success
- a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because the person makes an unwise decision
- an act done, or a decision made, on behalf of a person lacking capacity must be done or made in the person’s best interests
- before an act is done, or a decision is made which is restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action, regard must be had to whether the purpose for the which it is needed can be achieved as effectively in a less restrictive way
Capacity and self-determination law - Code of practice
You can find more information about using the law in the Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016 Code of Practice.The Code is written for both public and professionals alike.
You can read the Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016 on the Jersey Law website.
The Law came into force on Monday 1 October 2018.
Lasting powers of attorney
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows you to choose who makes decisions for you in the future if you lack capacity and have not chosen an attorney through a lasting power of attorney. You must be aged 18 or older to make an LPA.
If you decided not to make an LPA then the States of Jersey will make decisions for you when you lose capacity. People like doctors and social workers would do this through best interests.
You can find out more information about LPA's and how to make one on our
lasting power of attorney page.
Advance decision to refuse treatment
An advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT) allows you to record treatments that you don't want to have in the future. It makes sure that everyone knows the treatments you don't want to have if you're unable to make your own decisions in the future.
You can make an ADRT if you are 16 or over and able to make decisions for yourself. To use an ADRT to refuse a life-sustaining treatment, it must be written, signed and witnessed.
An ADRT cannot include a request to have treatment or to have your life ended. You can use a statement of wishes and feelings to request, but not insist on, treatment.
You can complete an ADRT form or you can make your own ADRT, but the form will make sure your ADRT meets the rules in the Law.
A guide to making an ADRT
Complete an ADRT form
If you need additional pages for your form, use an ADRT continuation page.
ADRT additional page
ADRT for healthcare professionals
You can find out more about making and implementing an ADRT in our guide.
ADRT - A toolkit for healthcare professionals.
A delegate is appointed by the Royal Court to make decisions for you in the future if you lack capacity and have not chosen your own attorney through a lasting power of attorney. If you have a relative who needs help with decision-making, you can
apply to become a delegate through the Judicial Greffe.