The change in the law did not take place immediately after Royal Assent. The statute itself provides that it is to come into force ‘in accordance with provision made by order by the Lord Chancellor’. Different days may be appointed for different purposes. The government uses Statutory Instruments to bring the legislation into force. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 actually came fully into force on 1 October 2007 – why was the change in the law not implemented immediately after Royal Assent?
One reason is that the implementation of new law may require training for judges and other professionals who will operate the law. In the case of the Mental Capacity Act, a major reorganisation of the Court of Protection was also required. It was also necessary to draft a statutory(Department of Constitutional Affairs, 2007) to give guidance on matters not covered in the primary legislation. By its nature, legislation is unlikely to be read or understood by ordinary family members, health or social care professionals, or people with mental capacity problems.