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Mental health law conference

Date: 16th October 2019

Time: 09:00 - 16:25

Perth Concert Hall
Mill Street

CPD Hours: 5hours 30minutes

Join our expert speakers and meet with peers and colleagues to hear about current developments and key issues in mental health law and practice.

5.5 hours verifiable CPD

Our Mental health law conference is back in Perth on Wednesday 16 October. Join our expert speakers and meet with peers and colleagues to hear about current developments and key issues in mental health law and practice.

The programme will cover a variety of relevant updates and insights into core areas of mental health law, and will offer you plenty of opportunities to network and to ask questions on matters affecting your practice.

At this event you will:

  • Gain expert insight into the review of Scottish mental health law
  • Hear about recent cases on assisted dying and implementation of advance directives
  • Advance your understanding of the key issues around discrimination in mental health law
  • Hear from Mental Health Officers and Independent Advocates about their role and challenges
  • Learn about the work of Lawscot Wellbeing and identify well-being strategies to help you communicate with clients and colleagues
  • Pose questions and scenarios on matters affecting your practice
  • Amanda Millar, Vice President, Law Society of Scotland
  • Colin McKay, Chief Executive, Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
  • Lorraine O'Neill, Mental Health Officer, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership
  • David Leighton, Advocate, Hastie Stable
  • Laura Dunlop QC, Hastie Stable & President, Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland
  • Julie Hutton, Senior Advocacy Worker, Independent Advocacy Perth & Kinross
  • Colin Walker, Mental Health Advocate, Independent Advocacy Perth & Kinross
  • Dr Roger Smyth MBChB MPhil FRCPsych LLM, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Psychological Medicine – Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 
  • Olivia Moore, Interim Head of Careers & Outreach, Law Society of Scotland
  • Lyndsey Thomson, Careers and Outreach Co-ordinator, Law Society of Scotland
  • 09:00 - 09:30

    Registration and refreshments
  • Speaker
    Amanda Millar

    Amanda has wide civil litigation experience and was the first Solicitor in Scotland Accredited in the fields of both Mental Health Law and Incapacity and Mental Disability Law and she remains the only Solicitor so accredited outwith Glasgow and Edinburgh. She specialises in the representation of the vulnerable and their loved ones in Incapacity and Mental Health matters.

    She speaks regularly at Conferences and Seminars to peers and Support Groups on these issues.

    Amanda is the Vice President of the Law Society of Scotland. She is also a member of the expert advisory group of the Centre for Mental Health and Incapacity Law Rights and Policy at Edinburgh Napier University.

    She is the first non-executive Chair of Changing the Chemistry(SCIO).

    • Rethinking the justifications for non-consensual care and treatment
    • How can we ensure people with mental health conditions achieve ‘the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’?
    • Can we bring mental health, incapacity and adult support and protection into one legal framework?

    Colin McKay

    Colin has been Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission since 2014. The Commission is a statutory agency responsible for protecting the human rights of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions, and oversees the operation of mental health and incapacity law in Scotland. He is a visiting professor at the Centre for Mental Health and Capacity Law at Edinburgh Napier University, and a board member of a law centre, JustRight Scotland.

    Previously Colin worked in the Scottish Government for 14 years, including as secretary to the Millan Committee, and then as Bill manager for the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. Before that he was a solicitor, and spent 10 years with ENABLE Scotland, where he led campaigning and policy work. He has a particular interest in the interface of law, care and ethics.

    Colin was recently appointed as an advisor to the review of the Mental Health Act led by John Scott QC

    • Overview of the work and aims of Lawscot Wellbeing;
    • Introduction to the role and concept of Mental health first-aiders;
    • Well-being strategies to help you communicating and working with colleagues and clients;
    • Interactive discussion of cases and scenarios.

    Olivia Moore

    Olivia works predominantly with those in their early stages of their legal careers from school age to newly-qualified, running a variety of outreach projects with an employability focus. Social mobility is also a core item on the team’s agenda and latterly work has been focusing on contextualised recruitment and fair access to the profession. Olivia is part of the Law Society team working on Lawscot Wellbeing and oversees the Steering Group, made up of practising professionals which inform the initiative’s strategy.

    Lyndsey Thomson

    Lyndsey is a member of the Education, Training & Qualifications team at the Law Society, who overseas the running of a number of schools outreach initiatives whilst also offering careers advice to those on the route to qualification in Scotland.  Lyndsey was also appointed as one of the Law Society’s first Mental Health First Aiders and prior her employment at the Law Society, delivered Mental Health First Aid training to various organisations.

  • 11:00 - 11:10

    Questions and discussion
  • 11:10 - 11:30

    Refreshments and networking
  • Speakers
    Julie Hutton

    Julie Hutton is the Senior Independent Advocate at Independent Advocacy Perth and Kinross leading a team of six independent advocates.   Originally from Perth, Julie brings a breadth of skills and experience to IAPK having had a career in the Arts sector for twenty years.  In 2010 Julie changed career direction moving to work for a social enterprise, within the Fab Pad Tenancy Sustainment Project, across Scotland working with Young People leaving care, prison or at risk of homelessness.   From here Julie moved to IAPK in 2013 as a Children and Young Person’s Independent Advocate, and in 2014 began working with Adults under Mental Health legislation, including Learning Disability and Autism.   Julie has responsibility to support and supervise all the independent advocates and draws on her skills and experience of independent advocacy across all health and social care legislations and issues to ensure the delivery of excellent standards of practice throughout the organisation.

    Since graduating from DJCAD in 1988, Julie has realised how invaluable her arts training and background has been, how this has influenced her understanding of the human condition and how it has enabled her to work from a human rights approach on a daily basis.

    Colin is an experienced Mental Health Advocacy Worker who specialises in working with individuals in low and medium secure settings as well as those with a forensic background living in the community.

    Colin feels privileged that so many advocacy partners have shared their life experiences with him over the years. Having supported partners at hundreds of tribunals, he enjoys the fact that because they centre around individuals, no two are the same and there is always something to be learned.

  • Speaker

    Lorraine O’Neill started out as a Social Worker with South Lanarkshire Council in 2002 in Adult Services supporting adults with an intellectual disability and/or a physical disability. Due to her long held interest in mental health, she trained as a Mental Health Officer and worked in Community Mental Health Teams in South Lanarkshire from 2006 until 2018. She had reached a point where she felt ready to support other Mental Health Officers and joined the Learning and Development Team for Social Work as Staff Development Officer for Mental Health in 2018. She is delighted to participate in the Law Society’s Mental Health Law Conference in Perth.

  • 12:50 - 13:00

    Questions and discussion
  • 13:00 - 13:40

    Lunch and networking
    • Discrimination between patients
    • Discrimination between patients and non-patients
    • Sources of anti-discrimination

    David Leighton, Advocate, Hastie Stable
    • Clinical situations leading to consideration of non-consensual care and treatment
    • Clinicians' understanding of, and application of, legal tests
    • The clinical application of mental health, incapacity, and safeguarding statutes

    Dr Roger Smyth MBChB MPhil FRCPsych LLM

    Dr Roger Smyth is Consultant Psychiatrist in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

    His main area of clinical interest is the psychiatric care of organ transplant patients. His main area of research interest is psychological predictors of completed suicide. He is lead author and editor of the Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry.

  • 15:00 - 15:10

    Questions and discussion
  • 15:10 - 15:30

    Refreshments and networking
    •  Mental health and decision-making capacity regarding assisted dying
    • The recent acquittal of a doctor in the Netherlands following euthanasia of a patient with dementia
    • The move of the MHTS into the First tier Tribunal for Scotland


    Laura Dunlop qualified as a solicitor then spent two years as a Reporter to the Children’s Panel.  Since calling to the Bar in 1989, she has practised in civil law, primarily in negligence and in public law.  Laura became a QC in 2002, standing counsel to the Church of Scotland in 2005 and was appointed a part-time Law Commissioner in 2009.   She has appeared in public inquiries, most recently as Counsel to the Penrose Inquiry into viral transmission by blood and blood products (2009 to 2015).  She was appointed to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal in the summer of 2015, and became a legal member of the Mental Health Tribunal in 2016 and a deputy judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) in 2018.  She was appointed as President of the Mental Health Tribunal with effect from 12 October 2019.

  • 16:10 - 16:20

    Questions and discussion
  • Speaker
    Amanda Millar, Vice President, Law Society of Scotland


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