Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 1999

Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 1999

The Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 1999 was an act of the Scottish Parliament which was passed by the Parliament in September 1999 and was designed to close a loophole in the law which led to the release of mentally ill killer, Noel Ruddle, who was released from the state hospital at Carstairs after arguing its treatment programmes were no longer of benefit to him.[1] This was the first act passed by the Scottish Parliament after its establishment in 1999.


Purpose of Act

The Act has two main purposes:

The first is to add a new criterion to the statutory tests applied by a sheriff or the Scottish Ministers when considering whether to order the discharge of a restricted patient. The sheriff and the Scottish Ministers must now refuse to order a discharge (either conditional or absolute) if satisfied that the patient has a mental disorder, the effect of which is that continuing detention in hospital is necessary to protect the public from serious harm. That is so whether or not the patient is to receive medical treatment for the mental disorder.

The second is to introduce a right of appeal against a decision, notification or recommendation of a sheriff in relation to an appeal brought by a restricted patient in terms of Part VI of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984. The right of appeal against the sheriff’s decision, notification or recommendation is conferred on both the patient and the Scottish Ministers. The appeal is to the Court of Session.

The Act also widens the term 'mental disorder', which appears in earlier legislation, to include a personality disorder.

See also


  1. ^ Ministers accused as bill wins backing BBC News, 2 September 1999

External links