A state’s real commitment to its international human rights obligations is never more challenged than when it faces emergency situations. Addressing actual and potential resourcing pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in, amongst other things, modifications to Scottish mental health and capacity law and the issuing of new guidance relating to associated practice. Whether these emergency or ordinary measures are invoked during the crisis there are potential implications for the rights of persons with mental illness, learning disability and dementia notably those relating to individual autonomy and dignity. This article will consider areas of particular concern but how strict adherence to the legal, ethical and human rights framework in Scotland will help to reduce the risk of adverse consequences.


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Stavert, J. & McKay, C. 2020, 'Scottish mental health and capacity law: The normal, pandemic and ‘new normal’', International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 71, article no: 101593. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2020.101593

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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