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Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Section 195 - Permission for absence

This section provides that where a person is liable to be detained under a public protection order with restrictions, a responsible medical practitioner may, with the consent of the Department of Justice, give permission for that person to be absent from the establishment where he or she is detained.  The practitioner may attach to the permission any conditions considered necessary by the practitioner for the health and safety of the offender or the protection of others. Permission to be absent can be given for a specified occasion or for a specified period. Where the permission is in respect of a specified period, the period can be extended by further permission given in the offender’s absence.

The responsible medical practitioner may also direct that the person is to remain in custody during his or her absence but such a direction can only be given if the practitioner thinks that this is necessary for the health and safety of the person or for the protection of other persons. In these cases, the person may be kept in the custody of a person on the staff of the establishment concerned, or in the custody of any other person authorised in writing by the managing authority of the establishment.

The section also provides that where a person is given permission to be absent for more than 28 days under this section, or a period of permitted absence is extended for more than 28 days, the managing authority of the establishment must notify RQIA of the address where the person is staying within 14 days of the permission being given or of the day when the period is extended. The managing authority must also notify RQIA of the offender’s return within 14 days.

Where a person is absent under this section and it appears to the responsible medical practitioner or the Department of Justice that it is necessary to do so for the health and safety of the offender, the protection of other persons, or because the offender is not receiving proper care, the practitioner or the Department of Justice may revoke the permission and recall the person to the establishment concerned. However, a person may not be recalled when he or she has ceased to be liable to be detained under the public protection order.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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