6. How professionals make decisions

Closed 1 Nov 2019

Opened 30 Aug 2019

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We think that there are times when a person’s rights have to be limited, to protect all of the person’s rights overall. For example, it can be right to limit a person’s liberty (freedom) to protect a person’s right to life when the person could commit suicide.

We think that Scotland’s human rights duties include duties to protect all of a person’s rights. Other people’s rights also have to be considered. Any professional decisions that limit a person’s rights must be proportionate and necessary at all times. All professional decisions should be clear and open to the person. It must be possible for people to challenge decisions that may not respect their rights, will and preferences. We need monitoring and judicial authority (tribunal and court) to deal with professional decisions that are not proportionate.

In this part, we suggest a new approach to making proportionate decisions based on human rights. We call this ‘human rights assessment’. We suggest that Scotland is not yet ready to meet a key human rights requirement of ending all detention and compulsory treatment on the basis of disability. We suggest ways to improve Scotland’s approach in law to detention on the basis of disability and to compulsory treatment.

We also discuss professional roles in this part. We think that Scotland needs to understand autism and learning disability as disabilities, not as mental disorders, as discussed in section 2.1. We also suggested in section 2.2 that mental health services for autistic people and people with learning disability need to shift towards a human rights culture. We talk about the professions that provide support, care or treatment to autistic people and people with learning disability. We think that social work and social care may be best placed to lead changes in culture.

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  • Anyone from any background


  • Learning disability and autism