Reviewing mental health law

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John Scott QC gives an update on a review of mental health law in Scotland

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24th December 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

In Spring of 2019, the Minister for Mental Health announced an overarching, independent review of Mental Health law in Scotland, chaired by myself and work on this review is now well underway, The other members of the executive team are Kirsty McGrath and Ruth Wilson from the Secretariat, Jill Stavert and Colin McKay as professional advisers, Graham Morgan and Karen Martin as lived experience advisers.

The principal aim of the review is to improve the rights and protections of those living with mental illness and remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare.

It follows on from ongoing work to review incapacity law and practice, and a review of learning disability and autism. The final report for the independent review of Learning Disability and Autism in the Mental Health Act, is now available, having been published on 18 December 2019.

The overarching review will examine developments in mental health law and practice on compulsory detention and on care and treatment since the current legislation came into force in 2005.

John Scott QC

John Scott QC

A review group will also make recommendations that reflect people’s social, economic and cultural rights and will consider the future shape of incapacity, mental health and adult support and protection legislation.

Central to the review will be gathering views from as wide a range of people as possible to ensure that the views of service users, those with lived experience and those that care for them ultimately shape the future of the legislation. A call for evidence will be published at the end of January 2020. This will give a chance  for individuals and organisations to tell of their experiences of mental health law and give their views about how it has affected them.

The review would welcome local groups to arrange their own events to engage and gather evidence on this basis. We would be more than happy to attend and assist in the facilitation of any such events. Please contact us using the details below to arrange this.

A website dedicated to the review, will be available in January. In the meantime if you would like to be involved in the review, please contact the Secretariat via

John Scott QC is chair of the review of mental health legislation in Scotland