The Federation Press

Mental Capacity

Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives

Overview

When is a person in a fit state to execute an enduring power of attorney or an advance health directive? The complex mix of legal, medical and ethical issues continue to provide difficult, practical issues for individuals, their professional advisers, their families, and the courts and tribunals. This cross-disciplinary book analyses the law and the medical and psychological perspectives and includes case studies to highlight problems and suggest ways of resolution.

Mental Capacity:

  • Provides an overview of the framework of law within Australia.
  • Focuses on the law as it currently stands in relation to assessing mental capacity, including a consideration of the interaction between legal and medical standards.
  • Analyses the importance and difficulties of defining and judging capacity in the medical context.
  • Examines best practice in relation to health based competency assessments.
  • Looks at the role of the neuropsychologist in determining the extent and characteristics of cognitive impairment.

Reviews

This is a useful little book which contains material not easily found elsewhere. ... [It] notes that at present there are no standard set of tests for mental capacity. However, it discusses the various tests used by psychologists and discusses the philosophic concepts involved in making the assessment. The few Australian cases are discussed. ... The book fills a niche in the market and should be useful to all those who have to deal with questions of when a person is capable of making serious decisions. - Australian Law Journal Vol 79, November 2005

Touches upon issues and methodology which are applicable to all situations where a person’s mental capacity is called into question. ... [contains] excellent contributions from a number of different disciplines. ... Chapter 2 is the best guide to the law on capacity, discussing the statutory provisions as to enduring documents in the light of leading cases ... For the cross-examiner, I would recommend chapter 4, Measuring Mental Capacity: Models, Methods and Tests ... A similar horizon broadening for the hidebound lawyer is available from chapter 3, Mental Capacity in Medical Practice and Advance Care Planning: Clinical, Ethical and Legal Issues ... In my opinion, the monograph is a usefiul addition to the advocate’s library both for the normal utilitarian reasons and for the important issues it discusses. - Stephen Keim SC, Queensland Bar News No 16, August 2005

Table of Contents

An Overview of the Relevant Legal Principles
Berna Collier and Chris Coyne

Legal Requirements and Current Practices
Jim Cockerill, Berna Collier, Kay Maxwell

Mental Capacity in Medical Practice and Advance Care Planning: Clinical, Ethical and Legal Issues
Malcolm Parker and Colleen Cartwright

Measuring Mental Capacity: Models, Methods and Tests
Karen Sullivan

Capacity Assessment for Making an Advance Health Directive: The Role of a Neuropsychologist
Margaret Ambrose

Conclusion

Of interest...