Children's mental health within Scottish legislation

by Dr Aileen Blower and Dr Tina Irani 


Last updated: July 2019


Scotland has its own legal system and a parliament with responsibility over devolved matters including health, education, justice and social work. Psychiatrists who work in any jurisdiction must adhere to the ‘law of the land’ as well as universal professional codes of ethics and guidelines.


Several areas of Scottish legislation directly concern children with mental disorders. These include mental health and children’s legislation, as well as laws affecting capacity. Due to the necessarily piecemeal introduction of legislation, the age of childhood varies across different laws. However, in devising recent legislation, efforts have been made to achieve consistency and adherence to internationally accepted principles of human rights.


Of particular relevance to children are the rights to life, the right to not be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to respect for private and family life. In addition, when adults make decisions affecting children the welfare of the child is paramount and children are expected to participate as much as possible. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 has brought together children’s services and children’s rights into a single comprehensive framework.


This module will summarise key Scottish legislation and its relevance for assessment and management of children and young people.


Start the module



If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Assessment of mental health problems in children and adolescents with intellectual disability by Dr Muthukumar Kannabiran and Dr Sarah Bernard


Behavioural problems in the under fives: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 by Dr Margaret Thompson and Dr Paula Jenkins


Ethical and legal challenges within children's mental healthcare: Part 1 and Part 2 by Dr Moli Paul





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