Publication - Factsheet

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000: principles

Sets out the principles that must be applied when making decisions about the needs of adults who lack capacity.

Published:
1 Mar 2019
Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000: principles

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 introduced a system for safeguarding the welfare and managing the finances and property of adults who lack capacity to make some or all decisions for themselves.

It is underpinned by principles which anyone taking action under the Act must apply when deciding which measure will be the most suitable for meeting the needs of the individual. The principles must also be used whenever decisions need to be made on behalf of the adult.

The principles are:

Principle 1: benefit

Any action or decisions taken must benefit the adult and only be taken when that benefit cannot reasonably be achieved without it. 

Principle 2: least restrictive option

Any action or decision taken should be the minimum necessary to achieve the purpose.  It should be the option that restricts the person’s freedom as little as possible.

Principle 3: take account of the wishes of the adult

In deciding if an action or decision is to be made, and what that should be, account shall  be taken of the present and past wishes and feelings of the adult as far as they can be ascertained. The adult should be offered appropriate assistance to communicate his  or her views.

Principle 4: consultation with relevant others

In deciding if an action or decision is to be made, and what that should be, account shall  be taken of the views of the nearest relative and the primary carer of the adult, the adult’s named person, any guardian or attorney with powers relating to the proposed intervention, and any person whom the Sheriff has directed should be consulted, in so far as it is reasonable and practicable to do so.

Principle 5 – encouraging the adult

Any guardian, attorney, or manager of an establishment exercising functions under this  Act shall in so far as it is reasonable and practicable to do so, encourage the adult to exercise whatever skills he or she has concerning property, financial affairs or personal welfare as the case may be and to develop new such skills.  

Read the full text of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) 2000 Act at the legislation.gov.uk website.