Mental health law in Scotland: guide to named persons

A named person is someone who can look after your interests if you are cared for or treated under mental health legislation. This guide provides information to help you understand your rights.

7. Witnesses

The person who acts as your witness must confirm that in their opinion you understand what the decision you are making means, and that you have made your decision freely, without undue pressure from anyone else.

People who can act as a witness are:

  • people providing independent advocacy services;
  • medical practitioners such as doctors and GPs;
  • arts therapists, dieticians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists and speech and language therapists (if registered with the Health and Care Professions Council);
  • people employed in the provision of, or managing the provision of, a care service;
  • registered nurses;
  • social workers; and
  • solicitors.

It would be a conflict of interest for the person named in any of the documents (such as your chosen person) to also witness them. However, your chosen person could help you find another suitable witness instead. You cannot witness your own documents, even if you are also fall into one of the categories above. You must also be in front of your witness at the time of signing so that they can see you sign your name.

A witnesses is needed so that your nomination, revocation or declaration about listed initiators is lawful.

If you want to (1) nominate a named person, (2) revoke the nomination of your named person, or (3) make a declaration about who can't act as a listed initiator, then you must do this in writing and it must be signed and witnessed. Forms are available at (in the forms section) but your hospital or local council may have their own version of the form.

Before you ask anyone to help you nominate your named person, or act as your witness, you should check if it will cost you anything. Some people you ask for help might need to charge you for their working time. If you ask a solicitor you should ask them whether legal aid with will be available to pay for some or all of the cost (legal aid is the help you can sometimes get when you can't afford to pay your own legal costs).


Email: Dan Curran

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