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Concerns of new Mental Health Bill failing to deliver justice raised by Law Society of Scotland

Date: (14 May 2013)    |    

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The Law Society of Scotland has raised concerns that the new Scottish Parliament legislation failed adequately to safeguard the continued existence of a specialised Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland.
It said it was concerned that this could affect the delivery of justice to some of the most vulnerable people in Scottish society.
Adrian D Ward, Convener of the Mental Health and Disability Committee said the Society supported the proposed Scottish Tribunals system and the Scottish Government’s current commitment to a specialised mental health tribunal.
The Society is supportive of the proposed Scottish Tribunals system and the Scottish Government's current commitment to a specialised mental health tribunal.
The Tribunals (Scotland) Bill will make provision for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to establish the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland.
The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland has the power to make or prevent significant interventions in highly vulnerable people's lives. It includes the power to detain patients in hospital, to specify where they reside and to give them medical treatment for mental disorder against their will.
With such an extensive range of powers over people's lives, the Society considers it necessary for the Tribunal to retain its existing highly specialised competence, to ensure the best decisions possible are made for the most vulnerable people in Scottish society.
The Society said it recommends that the Scottish Government's commitment to the Tribunal should be reflected in the terms of the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill.
The Tribunal's place within the proposed chamber structure ought to be enshrined in primary legislation which could only be amended by a further Act of the Scottish Parliament. This would ensure full parliamentary and democratic scrutiny of any change to the Tribunal's status.

 

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