Mental Health – Adults with Incapacity

Mental health issues are a growing public health concern. It is estimated that one is six people in the past week experienced mental health difficulties. In some situations when people become mentally unwell they are unwilling or unable to agree to treatment. In Scotland, The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 applies to people who have a mental illness, learning disability or related condition. The Act defines these categories as “Mental Disorder”. In certain circumstances, a person can be detained in a hospital or subject to compulsory measures in the community. Mental Health Tribunals can be called when a person subject to compulsory measures, or their named person, does not agree to those measures. Our Associate Solicitor, Sarah Prentice has extensive experience in representing patients and named persons in such tribunals. Legal aid is generally non-means tested in these cases.

One in three people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime. Dementia is just an example of a condition that can cause a person to lack capacity, When a person lacks capacity to make decisions in order to safeguard and promote their interests in their property, finances and/ or welfare affairs, a court can appoint a Guardian. This is a complex legal process that our Sarah Prentice has significant experience in. A person lacking capacity is known in terms of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 as an “adult with incapacity”. It is also possible for adults with incapacity to be represented by a solicitor and to oppose such applications. Sarah Prentice has represented adults with incapacity, guardians and interested persons seeking to oppose guardianship orders. Legal aid is available in certain circumstances.

Sarah Prentice

Sarah Prentice is an Associate Solicitor in the Court Department. Sarah speaks fluent Spanish and studied for one year in Spain as part of her law degree. Sarah has experience in both Civil and Criminal Law. Sarah has represented clients in summary trials, sheriff and jury trials and has instructed Counsel in the High Court of Justiciary.

Sarah also has significant experience in family, mental health and adults with incapacity law. Sarah represents clients in divorce proceedings, child welfare hearings and children’s referrals regularly. Sarah is appointed as a curatrix ad litem for Hearings of the Mental Health Tribunals for Scotland and regularly represents patients subject to compulsory measures of treatment and hospital detentions. Sarah has significant experience in private Guardianship applications and has also represented Adults with Incapacity in opposing Guardianship orders.

Sarah has a keen interest in human rights and advocating for vulnerable people in society. Sarah has a friendly and supportive approach to her clients.

Sarah has served as a committee Member of the Scottish Young Lawyers Association and is currently a Committee Member of the Law Society of Scotland Mental Health and Disability Sub-Committee.


More information

For more information on our Mental Health Department, please contact: