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Adult Social Care Glossary, v 0.41

Nearest relative

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Definition or reference in primary legislation
Mental Health Act 1983, S.26

(1) In this Part of this Act "relative" means any of the following persons:

(a) husband or wife or civil partner;
(b) son or daughter
(c) father or mother
(d) brother or sister
(e) grandparent
(f) grandchild
(g) uncle or aunt
(h) nephew or niece.

(3) In this Part of this Act, subject to the provisions of this section and to the following provisions of this Part of this Act, the "nearest relative" means the person first described in subsection (1) above who is for the time being surviving, relatives of the whole blood being preferred to relatives of the same description of the half-blood and the elder or eldest of two or more relatives described in any paragraph of that subsection being preferred to the other or others of those relatives, regardless of sex.

Plain English definition
Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Jargon Buster

A term that is used in the Mental Health Act 1983 to refer to a single member of your family who is given certain rights and responsibilities if you are kept in hospital (also known as being 'sectioned'). It is not the same as 'next of kin' and may not necessarily be the person you have given power of attorney to (if this is relevant to you). The law decides who your nearest relative is, and although you cannot choose who this is, it can sometimes be changed.

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