Adults with incapacity

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 defines Adults with Incapacity (AWI) as those adults (people aged 16 or over) who lack capacity to take some or all decisions for themselves because of a mental disorder or an inability to communicate. We have produced the following guidance on the Act: 

Legislation review

We want to ensure that those with responsibilities under the Act are fully supported to carry out their duties effectively. We are doing this by ensuring that adults with incapacity legislation, policy and practice is reviewed and current practice is improved and effective.

We consulted on the proposals to reform the Adults with Incapacity legislation between January 2018 and April 2018. We published the consultation response analysis in August 2018. We set up three working groups over the autumn of 2018 to firm up policy recommendations following the analysis of the consultation. 

We are continuing to work with stakeholders on the proposals that have already been suggested, in order that we can develop them as far as possible. We will need to incorporate the findings of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review chaired by John Scott QC before taking forward ideas into legislation. This means that our timescales for legislative change are shaped around the conclusion of that review.

Improvements to current practice

In the short term we will progress the work we have started around improvements to practice that do not require legislation. 

We are working to improve current practice by:

  • revising the codes of practice to ensure that practice reflects the legislation
  • promoting the use of supported decision making with the aim of maximising the autonomy and exercise of legal capacity for persons with impaired capacity, in line with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability
  • developing a new scheme for supervision of guardians that will provide a robust risk based approach to this area
  • providing more education and support to all those parties using the legislation
  • developing guidance to improve the use of powers of attorney to ensure the will and preferences of the granter are adhered to

More information

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