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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to comment on Brown and Marchant's analysis of the complexity that can arise when applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) to the care and support provided to people with learning disabilities. Design/methodology/approach - A theoretical approach to explore the implications of Brown and Marchant's paper for the relationship between the law and practice in this area. Findings - The complexity accounted for by Brown and Marchant lies in the tension between the procedural requirements of the MCA and the practical realities of the support provided to individuals with complex and long-term needs. This tension cannot be addressed simply by focusing on improving training or better implementing the law in practice. Originality/value - It is important to further examine and explore the relationship between new legal principles to govern decision making and the complex ways in which people with learning disabilities and other individuals need to be supported in practical situations. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Original publication




Journal article


Tizard Learning Disability Review

Publication Date





70 - 73