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Mental Health Law Team
Mental Health and Protection of Rights Division
3ER St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Mental Health Law

Current Consultations

The second consultation on the implementation of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 has now been published and is open for responses until October 17, 2016. The consultation is about regulations for cross-border transfers and for absconding patients and is also about the transitional and savings provisions for the 2015 Act.

Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015

The Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 received Royal Assent on August 4, 2015 following passage through the Scottish Parliament. The Act makes changes to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 to allow service users to with a mental disorder to access effective treatment quickly and easily. It also contains measures around named persons, advance statements and advocacy to enhance service users' rights and to promote service users’ involvement in their treatment. It introduces a Victim Notification Scheme for victims of mentally disordered offenders. It also makes some changes to the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 in relation to mental health disposals in criminal cases:

Implementation of the 2015 Act

Implementation of the Act will include secondary legislation, implementation of the Victim Notification Scheme for victims of mentally disordered offenders and revisions to guidance, forms and the Code of Practice. Officials continue to work with stakeholders on the implementation of the Act, including through the Implementation Reference Group and the Code of Practice working group:

The first public consultation on implementing the 2015 Act was published in March 2016. The consultation included provisions relating to named persons, advance statements, conflict of interest regulations, and amendments to the Mental Health (Safeguards for Certain Informal Patients) (Scotland) Regulations 2005.

You can access the consultation papers at the links below. An analysis report will be published in due course. 

Enacted provisions

New regulations related to appeals against levels of security are in force from November 16, 2015 and more information about these provisions can be found on the secondary legislation page.

Provisions requiring Scottish Ministers to carry out a review of the arrangements for investigating the deaths of patients who were either detained in hospital or admitted voluntarily to hospital for treatment for a mental disorder came into force on December 24, 2015. Section 37 of the Act requires that the review is carried out within three years of the section coming into force; that, where practicable, the nearest relatives of patients and other appropriate persons are consulted; and that a report is published setting out the findings. Further detail is available in the policy note for the commencement order:

Future implementation

The majority of the Act is unlikely to be commenced before April 2017. Further details and dates relating to implementation of the Act, including consultations on secondary legislation and information on individual provisions coming into force, will be communicated widely and as far in advance as possible. That includes through this section of the Scottish Government website.