§ Dr. Iddon
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to his answer of 12 May 2004,Official Report, columns 382–83W, on the Mental Incapacity Bill, what legal protection there is for those aged 16 or under if they lack mental capacity and are not covered by the draft Mental Incapacity Bill. 
§ Margaret Hodge
I have been asked to reply.
The legal protection of children under 16 is primarily the responsibility of their parents. Section 3 of the Children Act 1989 gives the meaning of parental responsibility. Children under 16 are presumed to lack mental capacity, as defined legally in some respect, which is why parents can largely make decisions on behalf of their children. The threshold at which local authorities can apply to the courts for a care order which confers parental responsibility on the applicant authority is given in Section 31 of the Children Act 1989.