This refers to inability to grasp, on a purely intellectual level, concepts (their nature or meaning) or information (e.g., volume, detail, complexity) relevant to the decision. This is intellectual grasping of information on a general level, in contrast with ability ‘to appreciate’ which refers to understanding information as applicable to oneself in the particular.
The fact that ‘understanding’ can be used in the narrow sense of ‘to grasp information’ as well as in broader senses (e.g, as in ‘understanding information as applicable to oneself’ to denote appreciation) means that it can become a source of confusion. A simple solution would be to use ‘understanding’ only to refer to the intellectual absorption or grasping of information, and to use other more descriptive terms (e.g., appreciation) for its broader senses.
Inability example quote from court practice:
[P] has barely an inkling of the health risks involved. She was unable to link sex to pregnancy. Indeed she had virtually no idea how her babies came to be in her tummy (as she put it)
Intact ability example quote from court practice:
He understands that the relationship is exclusive, and in broad terms that marriage includes society, support and assistance, and the concept of sharing a common home and domestic life, and that two people come together and owe each other rights and responsibilities
Link to MCA criteria in court practice:
In court judgments, this rationale is most commonly linked to the MCA Criterion Understand (linked for 90% rationales) and we suggest that this is the most appropriate link.
Link to impairments of mind or brain in court practice:
This rationale was most relevant to court judgments involving subjects with Learning Disability and Acquired Brain Injury.