The Law

Supporting people with communication needs isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the law.

Here are 3 laws which protect the rights of people with understanding or speaking difficulties.

The Mental Capacity Act (2005)

The Mental Capacity Act is a very important law for people with difficulties understanding or speaking.

It says that everyone must be assumed to be able to make their own decisions and everyone has a right to be  supported to make those decisions (even if other people don’t agree with them). For people with understanding and speaking difficulties, this means they must be given information in a way which helps them to understand, e.g. with pictures, video or objects. They must also be given help to communicate their decision.

Even with help, some people will not be able to understand some decisions. If this is the case, the decision must be made for them by the people that know the person best, and those that understand the technicalities of the decision. This is called a ‘Best Interests decision and must be the least restrictive option possible.

You can find accessible information about the Mental Capacity Act here or for more detailed information, here or here

We offer a range of Training opportunities which help organisations implement the MCA and meet their legal responsibilities towards people with understanding and speaking difficulties

More legislation:

The Equality Act

The Equality Act became Law in 2010. It covers a number of laws , including the Disability Discrimination Act.

The Equality Act is important for lots of reasons to protect people from discrimination (being treated differently because of a difference or disability)

It is especially important for people with understanding or speaking disabilities because it says that people have a right to expect employers or services to make reasonable adjustments to help people understand or communicate. This may be by providing information that is easy to read or providing information in other formats.

There is Easy Read information about the Equality Act here or more detailed information here

The Human Rights Act

Human Rights are about everyone being treated in a fair way. That includes people with understanding or speaking difficulties.

The Human Rights Act became law in 1998. It is based on the European Convention of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Act is important for people with communication or learning disabilities, because it protects a person’s rights to things that many of us take for granted, for example, the right to education, to family life, to work. If you have difficulties understanding or speaking, you may need, and are entitled to extra support to access these things.

You can find out more about the Human Rights Act here or for more detail, here