About us

About the review

The principal aim of the review was to improve the rights and protections of persons with a mental disorder and remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare.

Our Aim

Improve the rights and protections of persons with a mental disorder and remove barriers to those caring for their health and welfare.

This independent review was chaired by John Scott KC.

How we achieved this


We reviewed the developments in mental health law and practice on compulsory detention and care and treatment since the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 came into force.


We made recommendations to give effect to the rights, will and preferences of the individual by ensuring that mental health, incapacity and adult support and protection legislation reflects people’s social, economic and cultural rights including United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and European Convention on Human Rights requirements.


We considered the need for the convergence of incapacity, mental health and adult support and protection legislation.

The review was delivered in three phases

Phase 1

On 3 February 2020, a 12-week consultation opened to gather evidence on people’s experiences of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) 2003 Act.

This consultation closed on 29 May 2020. You can read the responses by clicking on the link below.

Responses to the Phase 1 Consultation

Phase 2

Was about what could happen differently to address the issues highlighted in phase 1.

Phase 3

We got opinions on recommendations for change to mental health law and practice before publishing a report.

SMHLR Final Report – Summaries and Recommendations

Executive Team

John Scott QC

John qualified as a solicitor over 30 years ago and has been instructed in some of the most significant, complex and high-profile cases of recent times. He has chaired the Independent Review on Biometrics in Policing and Independent Advisory Group on Stop and Search.

Jill Stavert


Jill is a Law Professor and founder and Director of the Centre for Mental Health and Capacity Law at Edinburgh Napier University. Her areas of research and expertise are mental health and capacity law and related international, European and national human rights. She has worked with several public, and voluntary and monitoring bodies in this field and has also been an adviser to the Independent Review of Learning Disability and Autism in the Mental Health Act.

Her recent research has included the Three Jurisdictions Project which investigated the compatibility of UK-wide capacity laws with Article 12 UNCRPD, the Scotland’s Mental Health and Capacity Law; the Case for Reform report with the Mental Welfare Commission and the Employer Responses to Dementia in the Workplace project. She is currently Principal Investigator on the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland: the Views and Experiences of Patients, Named Persons, Practitioners and Tribunal Panel Members project (funded by the Nuffield Foundation).

Colin McKay


Colin is a Professor at the Centre for Mental Health and Capacity Law with Edinburgh Napier University. He is also a board member of the law centre - Just Right Scotland

Previously he was Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission between 2014 and 2020. Before that Colin worked in the Scottish Government for 14 years, including 4 years working on mental health law reform, first as secretary to the Millan Committee, and then as Bill manager for the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. He also worked in Government on justice, strategy and public service reform. He was also a solicitor, and spent 10 years with ENABLE Scotland, where he led campaigning and policy work, established the ENABLE Trustee Service, and served as a Mental Welfare Commissioner for 2 years. He has a particular interest in the interface of law, care and ethics.

Karen Martin


Karen Martin is a carer for her husband who has mental health and physical health issues. Through this, and her paid employment with Carers Trust Scotland, she has gained a vast amount of experience and knowledge about issues affecting carers and the impact being an unpaid carer can have on the mental and physical health of the carer.

As the Mental Health Coordinator with Carers Trust Scotland her role is to promote the rights of mental health carers; develop greater understanding of impact of caring on carers of all ages and providing training and information to carers of all ages on positive mental health and wellbeing. Karen is also a member of various advisory bodies, representing the views of carers at these groups.

Appointed as a General Member of Mental Health Tribunal Scotland in 2005, Karen provides training on aspects of Mental Health legislation, in particular use of Advanced Statements and role of Named Person as well as bringing awareness of carer issues to Tribunal members.

Graham Morgan


Graham Morgan currently works part time with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and is a volunteer with HUG (action for mental health) which is a voice for people with mental health problems in the Highlands.

He was the manager of HUG for twenty years before this and prior to that had a similar role with CAPS helping people with mental health problems have a voice in Edinburgh and the Lothians. In his early twenties he helped set up McMurphy's, a drop in centre for young people with mental health problems run by young people.

He has an MBE for services to mental health and was a Royal College of psychiatrists service user contributor of the year in 2012. He has carried out extensive work around compulsory treatment and supported decision making. He has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and depression and has been treated under a compulsory community order for the last ten years which he has written about in his recent memoir START.

Alison Rankin

Alison Rankin is a lived experience member of the Executive Team and joined the Scott Review in March, 2021. She worked in hospitality and retailing before becoming a lecturer at Queen Margaret College, now Queen Margaret University. Alison experienced severe bouts of depression for over 30 years and this culminated in a nine month and two week stay in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. For Alison this was a difficult but transformative experience.

After her stint as a voluntary patient she joined the Patients Council of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and has acted as the Chair of the Council. Her stay in hospital made her determined to get involved in Collective Advocacy. She feels that the positive experience she had should be the right of everyone but appreciates that there is no easy answer to changing the system. The people involved at any level have to change and work with people with lived experience to bring about the necessary changes.

Contact us

This Review finished on 30 September 2022.

Its recommendations are now being considered by The Scottish Government

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