Law Society: Scottish government must avoid delays in making mental health reforms

Law Society: Scottish government must avoid delays in making mental health reforms

The Law Society of Scotland has congratulated the Scottish Mental Health Law Review on the publication of its final report and urged the Scottish government to avoid delays in moving to the implementation phase.

The report is the product of a significant three phase review which gathered evidence of experiences of the Mental Health Act, looked at ways to address the issues, and sought feedback from a wide range of experts and stakeholders from across Scotland on recommendations for change to law and practice in the areas of mental health, adult incapacity, and adult support and protection.

Adrian Ward, convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Mental Health and Disability Sub-Committee, said: “This report represents a monumental achievement by the review team, and a remarkable and insightful contribution from our members, and from other organisations and individuals with expertise and experience in these wide areas of law and practice. Like all concerned, we will now need to study the detailed report and recommendations carefully.

“We wholeheartedly support the report’s position that reform of the Adults with Incapacity Act is essential and long overdue. We add our voice to calls for the Scottish government to treat this as a matter of priority. In the meantime, and with every week that passes, vulnerable people, their families and carers encounter avoidable difficulties and injustices, often amounting to potential violations of their human rights.

“We welcome the review’s reference to our work on ‘Advance Choices’. Aligned with our own position, is its recommendation that the ‘new model should apply to any support, care or treatment the person may need across all areas of their life’.

“We would also strongly encourage the Scottish government to consider the recommendations of the whole report and move swiftly to the next phase of law reform, in order that patients and their families, carers, doctors, lawyers and all those affected by any areas of existing legislation will soon begin to see the benefits of much needed reform.”

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