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Law and Rights

In Scotland, there are several pieces of law that ensure people with mental illness, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions get appropriate treatment and have their rights respected.

The Mental Welfare Commission has duties under the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. We monitor the acts to see how the law is being used. We also help professionals, people who receive care and treatment and carers to understand the law and put it into practice.

We're not solicitors, so we can't give legal advice. But we can help by looking at how best to apply legal and ethical principles to individuals' care and treatment.

Advance Statements

Advance statements are a powerful way of ensuring that people with mental health problems are listened to, even when they are unwell. Even so, we guess that only a small number of people who are treated for mental ill health are aware of them.

If you become unwell with a mental illness, you may need treatment. Sometimes, when people are very unwell, they are unable or unwilling to consent to treatment. In some cases, you may be given treatment even if you don't want it.