The main laws that affect the practice of Therapy and their implications are:
- Civil Law
Under civil law therapists have a duty of care towards their clients to provide a standard of care reasonable to a professional in their field. Breach of this law could result in civil action for professional negligence.
- Health and Safety at work act 1974
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act therapists have a “duty of care” to ensure the environment doesn’t pose a risk to anyone entering the premises. Also, they are legally required to have appropriate public liability insurance as well as private indemnity insurance.
- The Data protection Act 2018
Requires all businesses that hold information of individual in an electronic format (or in a paper format) to follow principles of good information handling. Also, individuals have a legal right to obtain/access any data held about them. A therapist who deals with individuals’ data electronically should register with the Government’s Information Commissioner by law and comply with the Act.
- Common Law
Under common law therapists must preserve the confidentiality of information provided to them by clients. Also, clients should be well informed of the terms and limits of client confidentiality, for example for whatever reason a court could subpoena the therapists for records kept of the client. The therapist may breach client confidentially if he/she is concerned that the client may be in danger of harming themselves or someone else.
- Disability Discrimination Act 2005
Businesses have a legal obligation to treat disabled persons as favourably as non-disabled persons. Therefore, you will need to make “reasonable adjustments” to accommodate the needs of disabled people.
- The Advertising standards authority
Has a list of requirements that need to be adhered to, when advertising your business. It covers aspects such as misleading clients etc.
- The Consumer Rights Act 2015
Other than the duty of care discussed above under the headings health and safety and civil law, therapists have a duty of care with regards to informed consent. The client is protected by The Consumer Rights Act 2015 which stipulates therapists have a duty to be open, honest about therapeutic methods and ensure that the client is aware of the terms and conditions of therapy. Children under the age of 16 require informed consent from both parents and parents may wish to chaperone their child. It is also important that a child willing participates in therapy and is not pressured into doing so by his/her parents.
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
Acknowledges everyone has the right to make their own decisions unless they lack the mental capacity to do so, either because of mental disability or substance misuse, in which case they do not have the capacity to give consent to treatment.