Protecting adults at risk of harm in Scottish Law: the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act

Jacqueline Atkinson, Ailsa Stewart, Gillian MacIntyre, Jackie Reilly, Pearse McCusker

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (AWIA), was developed by the Scottish Parliament in response to concerns from professionals about the need to protect adults who lacked capacity whilst ensuring the right to make decisions about their own lives were not removed. The main aim of the AWIA therefore is to provide a legal framework that gives adults with incapacity a say in their own lives while providing protection when it is needed. The AWIA applies to adults (those over 16) who by reason of mental disorder or an inability to communicate because of physical disability are incapable, either temporarily or permanently, of any of the following "acting, making decisions, communicating decisions, understanding decisions, retaining the memory of decisions". The legislation is built on five key principles. Any decision made on behalf of the adult; must benefit them, take account of their wishes, be the least restrictive option, encourage them to use existing skills and develop new ones, and takes account of the views of others, such as the primary carer. Powers available within this legislation include gaining access to an adults’ funds, intervention, and guardianship orders. This paper will consider how this act has impacted on the lives of adults who lack capacity in Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2011
Event32nd International Congress on Law and Mental Health - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 17 Jul 201123 Jul 2011


Conference32nd International Congress on Law and Mental Health


  • Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act
  • Scotland
  • adults at risk of harm


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