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Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000


Part V of the Act relates to medical treatment. Adults assessed as incapable of making decisions concerning specific medical treatment/investigations should have a Section 47 certificate issued.

Section 47 certificates should be renewed annually, unless the adult has severe or profound learning disabilities which are unlikely to improve, when they can be issued for up to three years.

If you are using a treatment plan, the section 47 certificate can say “see attached treatment plan” under the section on proposed treatments.


Assessment of capacity should cover the following areas:

• Does the person know the reason for the treatment and potential benefits?
• Does the person understand the potential consequences and risks if they did not have it?
• Does the person understand the possible side effects and risks the treatment may cause?
• Does the person understand what alternative options are available to them, and their possible benefits and risks?
• Involve the next of kin/welfare guardian/carer in the assessment/decision to issue a certificate, and treatment plan.

A person might understand routine procedures like a flu jag or a skin cream, but not more complicated treatments e.g. antipsychotic medication.

Last Updated: 06 February 2015