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Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act


Part VI of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (CPSA) includes a complex series of options for courts who are dealing with accused or convicted persons who have a significant mental illness or learning disability. These include Assessment Orders, Treatment Orders, Interim Compulsion Orders, Temporary Compulsion Orders, Compulsion Orders, Compulsion Orders with Restriction Orders, Guardianship Orders, and Hospital Directions. The law also provides for Community Payback Orders with a condition of mental health treatment, orders for remand for inquiry into a mental condition, and the Transfer for Treatment Direction for prisoners who become mentally unwell. 

These are important provisions, but are used in a relatively small number of criminal cases. Many professionals, including lawyers, doctors, and social workers, find it difficult to understand which option is most appropriate in a particular set of circumstances, and what evidence is needed for the court to make the appropriate disposal.

The Commission has produced this flowchart to help people understand what the various orders are for, and to find the right option for each situation. The information is correct as at 2 August 2018.

How the flowchart works

The flowchart is a macro-enabled Excel spreadsheet, this means it contains code which allows it to be an interactive experience. You may download the file onto your computer, although it may not work on mobile devices.

When the flowchart opens, click to enable macros. You can make it a trusted document if you like, this will save you enabling macros every time you open the file.

The flowchart has three tabs, Main, Disposal in case of insanity, and Final disposal. 

Select an order from the list on the left, and the relevant parts of the flowchart light up and informative text appears. When you select an order, the flowchart automatically navigates to the relevant tab. Once selected, you can browse to the other tabs to view the full path from arrest to your order.

Further information

Greens Annotated CPSA (16th edition, 2017) contains detailed analysis of these provisions.

If you have any questions or suggestions about our flowchart, please contact the Mental Welfare Commission at or call our advice line on 0131 313 8777.