The Government intends to reform the Mental Health Act (1983) and published a draft Bill in 2022. The draft Bill removes learning disabilities and autism as conditions for which people can be detained for treatment in some circumstances. The principle of removing learning disability and autism from the definition of the Act is widely supported by stakeholders, but there are concerns that this could mean that people will be diverted to the criminal justice system, or be inappropriately detained under different legal powers, with safeguards that some view as less stringent.

This POSTnote will explore the implications of the proposals, stakeholder perspectives, and highlight the related complexities arising from the interface between the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act.

Work on this briefing will begin later in 2023 and is not yet open for stakeholder contributions.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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