Mental Capacity Law in New Zealand is a comprehensive text on the legal position of people who lack capacity, in many different contexts, including their position regarding health care, residential placement, property management, and participation in legal proceedings.

General Editors Iris Reuvecamp and John Dawson have assembled a team of subject matter experts from both legal and medical backgrounds who cover all major areas of the law of mental capacity in New Zealand (except the criminal law).

The early chapters of the book discuss important general concerns relevant to these capacity matters, including ethical, Maori, clinical, and human rights concerns. The next section discusses various sources of authority or justification that proxy decision-makers can rely upon when they act on another’s behalf. Further sections then address these capacity questions in more specific contexts, including making decisions about one’s personal care and welfare, making a will, and managing one’s property. The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 (the PPPRA) is prominent in the discussion as the single most important piece of legislation in the field.

Written in an accessible style the book is intended to be useful to those who need a reference work on key areas of mental capacity law and for those who need to dip into parts that are relevant to them and their practice (whether legal or clinical).

Although the book is mainly aimed at judges, lawyers and law students, it will be useful to all health professionals who deal with mental capacity issues as part of their practices.


Part A Core concepts and processes

  1. General Principles and Sources of Mental Capacity Law by John Dawson
  2. Ethical, Relational and Cultural Elements of Capacity by Brent Hyslop and Grant Gillett
  3. Te Puna a Hinengaro: he Tirohanga ki a Aheinga The Wellspring of Mind: Reflections on Capacity from a Maori Perspective by Hinemoa Elder
  4. Clinical Assessment of Capacity by Anthony Duncan and Mark Fisher
  5. Best Interests – a Standard for Decision-making by Alison Douglass
  6. Human Rights and Mental Capacity Law by John Dawson
  7. The CRPD and Mental Capacity Law by John Dawson
  8. An Overview of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 by Bill Atkin

Part B Authority and justification for making decisions for others

  1. Healthcare in the Absence of Consent by Iris Reuvecamp and John Dawson
  2. Enduring Powers of Attorney, Welfare Guardians and Property Managers by Iris Reuvecamp
  3. Legal Capacity and Supported Decision-making by Jeanne Snelling and Alison Douglass
  4. Children and Capacity by Mark Henaghan
  5. The Role of Capacity in Other Legislation by Iris Reuvecamp

Part C Decisions about personal care and welfare

  1. Advance Decision-making about Personal Care and Welfare by Iris Reuvecamp
  2. Long-term Placement in Aged Residential Care by Iris Reuvecamp
  3. Sex and Marriage by Anita Miller
  4. Sexual Health, Reproductive Liberty and Adults with Impaired Capacity by Jeanne Snelling
  5. Participation in Health or Disability Research by Cordelia Thomas
  6. Donation of Human Tissue, Gametes and Embryos by Nicola Peart
  7. Capacity and Information Privacy by John Dawson.

Part D Property-related decisions

  1. Managing Assets and Money by Bill Atkin
  2. Will-making and Capacity by Bill Atkin
  3. Incapacitated Company Directors and Trustees by Greg Kelly and Kimberly Lawrence
  4. Participation in Litigation by Greg Kelly and Kimberly Lawrence

Part E Conclusions Chapter

  1. The Future of Mental Capacity Law by John Dawson and Iris Reuvecamp

Table of Statutes and Regulations

Table of Cases