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Capacity Law, Code of Practice and annual report

​About The Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law (CSDL)

Most of us take our ability to think clearly and make decisions for granted, but t​here are any number of reasons why your capacity may become impaired. These could include health problems, illness or injury.

The Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law came into force on Monday 1 October 2018 and replaced the Curatorship system.. It's an important piece of legislation that introduces legal principles and safeguards relating to decisions made by you, and on your behalf if you lack capacity to make decisions for yourself.

It also allows you to make future plans for a time when you may lack capacity to make decisions for yourself and protects you by ensuring you are at the heart of decision-making about your life.

The law maximises your participation in any decisions made on your behalf, with such decisions made in your best interests. 

Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016

Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016 Annual Report Jersey, 2021 – 2022

The Code of Practice

The law is supported by practical guidance and this Code of Practice is an essential part of this. It explains how to use the law on a day-to-day basis for professionals and public alike.

C​apacity and self-determination

The law assumes 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 5 core principles in the law that everyone must use.

These are often referred to as:

  1. assumption of capacity
  2. practicable steps
  3. unwise decisions
  4. best interests
  5. 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 

Definition of capacity

'Capacity' means the ability to make a decision. A person with capacity has some understanding of the decision they need to make. They also need to know why they need to make it and the likely consequences. Sometimes people can make some kinds of decisions but don't have the capacity to make others.

You will find the legal definition of a person’s capacity in Part 1 of the CSDL

How capacity is assessed

Capacity is tested for under the CSDL. If you are unable to make a decision at the time it needs to be made, because either, you have an impairment of the mind or brain or, some other disturbance in the way your mind or brain works that is affecting the decision-making, you may lack capacity.

A person with capacity has at least a general understanding of:

  • the decision they need to make
  • why they need to make it
  • any information relevant to the decision
  • the likely consequences of the decision

There is more information about how to help someone lacking capacity to make a decision for themselves in chapter 2 of the Code of Practice.​

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