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Article
Publication date: 14 July 2009

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

The first autism‐specific piece of legislation in England and Wales, the Autism Bill, put forward by Cheryl Gillan as a private member's bill, has now gone forward to…

Abstract

The first autism‐specific piece of legislation in England and Wales, the Autism Bill, put forward by Cheryl Gillan as a private member's bill, has now gone forward to House of Commons committee stage, after attracting almost universal support among MPs, charities and the media. It seeks to redress the widespread lack of local authority provision for the needs of people with autism (defined in the Bill as including all autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger's Syndrome): children, adults (defined as those over 18) and their families. Currently, despite legislative and policy provision for the disabled, many autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children are without appropriate education or assistance before, during and after the transition to adulthood. At least a third of adults with ASD were estimated in the National Autistic Society's report I Exist to be suffering from serious mental health difficulties as a result of lack of support, while families and carers of adults with ASD have been found to be frequently unable to obtain assistance (Rosenblatt, 2008). This article will provide details of the Bill before considering its implications for ASD children, adults and their families.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2010

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

The law and guidance concerning the social care of adults are a mess. More than 30 statutes and guidance documents deal with this area, many of which overlap or contradict…

Abstract

The law and guidance concerning the social care of adults are a mess. More than 30 statutes and guidance documents deal with this area, many of which overlap or contradict each other, some dating back five decades. Because of this, the Law Commission has been asked to review the law and propose changes, which is, as the Law Society Gazette has put it, ‘the most radical shake‐up of adult social care in 60 years’ (Rayner, 2010). It is estimated that such legislation would affect 1.8 million people and six million carers (Brindle, 2010). The consultation document was published in February 2010 following a scoping exercise, and the closure date for responses was the 1st July 2010. The hope is that the consultation exercise will result in a response next year and a Bill drafted by the summer of 2012. In this article, we review the background to the consultation, and explore the Law Commission's proposals for reform. We examine the issues with particular reference to the readership of this journal, and make suggestions for change. We have also submited this article to the Law Commission as a response to the consultation document.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 31 January 2011

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

Should those of us who are neurologically atypical be diagnosed as ill, so in need of treatment or cure, or accepted as embodying a different way of being, as called for…

Abstract

Should those of us who are neurologically atypical be diagnosed as ill, so in need of treatment or cure, or accepted as embodying a different way of being, as called for by the neurodiversity movement? We consider what legal structures and health and social care systems would be appropriate to promote neurodiversity, and how far this infrastructure in the United Kingdom today meets these criteria for those diagnosed with cognitive disability and learning disability.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Robin Mackenzie

In this article the author proposes to traverse various views on money in order to contend that while antiquated notions of its materiality continue to bedevil English…

Abstract

In this article the author proposes to traverse various views on money in order to contend that while antiquated notions of its materiality continue to bedevil English legal structures, the law will fail to keep up with current commercial practices, and, equally seriously, fail to detect, prevent or punish coming criminal practices as well. The thrust of the argument is that how money is perceived, and what is conceived of as constituting it, together determine how laws deal with the cultural and commercial need for consensus on what might function as a medium of exchange and a store of value. As a consequence, if the perception of money is locked into its historically contingent aspects, legal structures will become increasingly marginalised by the superior resources and sophistication of contemporary organised crime.

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Journal of Money Laundering Control, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-5201

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2010

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

Guidance has recently been issued to police officers on how to respond to people with learning disabilities and mental illnesses. We review this Guidance and comment on…

Abstract

Guidance has recently been issued to police officers on how to respond to people with learning disabilities and mental illnesses. We review this Guidance and comment on some of the advice, in the context of current issues and concerns. This article contains a brief summary of the Guidance, but for more detailed coverage, we recommend that the Guidance itself be consulted.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 22 October 2009

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

Cruelty has often been understood as the result of incurable bad character by those able to distinguish right from wrong. Recent research suggests a way of thinking about…

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Abstract

Cruelty has often been understood as the result of incurable bad character by those able to distinguish right from wrong. Recent research suggests a way of thinking about it as a form of disability in which people are unable to learn empathy, cognitive social skills and associated behaviour, which qualifies it as a form of learning disability. It is suggested that accepting this classification opens up the possibility that selected interventions might be successful in enabling people to understand, practise and appreciate affiliative behaviour.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2011

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

The purpose of this paper is to examine and explore the use of various existing and developing technologies to enable and enhance users' lives.

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420

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and explore the use of various existing and developing technologies to enable and enhance users' lives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the current research evidence and explores some policies that have been developed in this area.

Findings

The findings indicate that many technologies in current existence can be adapted to assist people with disabilities. The paper looks to the future and speculates how new and developing technologies could push the boundaries of assistance and enablement. Using clinical examples, some of the ethical and legal implications of the use of such technologies, and how certain conditions may be aided, notably disorders on the neurodiverse spectrum, are discussed.

Originality/value

This paper will be of use to practitioners and researchers in the fields of learning disability and mental health.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 16 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 23 May 2011

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

The purpose in writing this paper is to highlight the lack of knowledge of many who are involved in capacity assessments, especially non‐professionals such as carers of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose in writing this paper is to highlight the lack of knowledge of many who are involved in capacity assessments, especially non‐professionals such as carers of the learning disabled, and the view that current guidance for capacity assessments does not take into account issues of emotionality.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to discuss current guidance and practice, and to offer academic criticism and explanation.

Findings

The findings include the discovery that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice suggests that healthcare professionals and family/carers may undertake assessments of decision‐making capacity, yet the guidance it provides for their doing so overlooks salient issues. Many of those involved in the daily lives of those, who may lack decision‐making capacity (and thus be seen as legally incompetent) such as the learning disabled, demented, mentally ill and neurodiverse, must decide whether to respect their decisions as competent, or to disregard the decisions on the grounds of incompetence and to act in the person's best interests. As many will lack training in their clinical and legal responsibilities and liabilities, it is crucial that they, and those they care for, are protected by not only an increased knowledge of mental capacity legislation and practice, but also how it may apply to questions of emotionality and neurodiversity.

Originality/value

This paper expands and builds on the authors' previous research into including emotionality in assessments of capacity, and will be of use to practitioners in the field of learning disability, and other psychiatric specialities.

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Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Robin Mackenzie and John Watts

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the common and statutory law governing children's capacity or competence to consent to and to refuse medical treatment is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the common and statutory law governing children's capacity or competence to consent to and to refuse medical treatment is unsatisfactory and to suggest solutions.

Design/methodology/approach

Critical legal analysis of the law on assessing minors’ decision-making capacity in relation to legal recognition of their consent to and refusal of medical treatment.

Findings

Without legal mechanisms which protect both children and their rights, all children and young people are effectively disabled from exercising age and capacity-related autonomy and participation in decisions affecting their lives. Yet in English law, inconsistencies between legal and clinical measures of decision-making capacity, situations where compulsory medical or mental health treatment is lawful, and tensions between rights and duties associated with human rights, autonomy, best interests and protections for the vulnerable create difficulties for clinicians, lawyers and patients.

Research limitations/implications

As the paper acknowledges in its recommendations, the views of stakeholders are needed to enrich and inform legal reforms in this area.

Originality/value

The paper makes suggestions to amend the law and clinical practice which are original and far reaching. The paper suggests that in order to observe children's rights while protecting them appropriately, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivations of Liberty Safeguards should be applied to minors. The paper recommends the establishment of Mental Capacity Tribunals, similar in nature and purpose to Mental Health Tribunals, to provide legal safeguards and mechanisms to foster the supported decision-making envisaged in recent United Nations Conventions.

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