What is the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000?


The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (2000 asp 4) is an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

An Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision as to the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of adults who are incapable by reason of mental disorder or inability to communicate; and for connected purposes.

Refer to Chronology of UK Mental Health Legislation and Mental Capacity Act 2005.


It was passed on 29 March 2000, receiving royal assent on 09 May 2000.

It concerns the welfare of adults (the age of legal capacity in Scotland being 16) who are unable to make decisions for themselves because they have a mental disorder or are not able to communicate. It provides the framework for other people (such as carers) to act on the behalf of people with incapacity.

The Act was one of the first pieces of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament upon it being reconvened in 1999.


  • Part 2 of the act concerns power of attorney and provides the framework for an individual (whilst they have capacity) to appoint someone to act as their continuing (financial) or welfare attorney.
  • Part 3 of the act concerns the accounts and funds of the adult with incapacity. It enables access to the bank or building society account of the adult with incapacity, in order to pay their costs of living.
  • Part 4 of the act concerns the management of finances of adults with incapacity who are residents of registered establishments including health service or private hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, state hospitals and care home services.
  • Part 5 of the act concerns medical research and treatment of adults with incapacity. It allows, under certain circumstances, medical research to be carried out on adults unable to give consent.
  • Part 6 of the act concerns intervention orders and guardianship orders. An intervention order can be applied for by, or on behalf of, an adult with incapacity and granted by the sheriff court. It may cover welfare or financial matters. An application for a guardianship order may be made by individuals or by a local authority regarding an adult with incapacity who may have long-term needs.
  • Part 7 of the act (“Miscellaneous”) makes it an offence for an individual to wilfully neglect and adult with incapacity.

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