The Act is underpinned by five principles, which are contained within the act and explained in the Mental Capacity Act code of practice:
a presumption of capacity - every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to do so unless it is proved otherwise
the right for individuals to be supported to make their own decisions - people must be given all appropriate help before anyone concludes that they cannot make their own decisions
that individuals must retain the right to make what might be seen as eccentric or unwise decisions
best interests - anything done for or on behalf of people without capacity must be in their best interests
least restrictive intervention - anything done for or on behalf of people without capacity should be an option that is less restrictive of their basic - as long as it is still in their best interests.