Mental Health Law

Module code: LW7293
Module co-ordinator: Dr Tracey Elliott

Module outline

In the light of statistics suggesting that one in four people will suffer from a mental health disorder during their lifetime. The law relating to mental health is an important subset of medical law. In this module we examine the paradigms of mental illness and of mental health law, considering both 'medical approaches' and the anti-psychiatry movement. The law relating to admission to hospital (both voluntary and involuntary) is examined, as well as the legal framework in relation to treatment for mental disorder without consent, and discharge from hospital into the community. In the wake of notorious crimes, such as those committed by Christopher Clunis and Michael Stone, the gaze of the media is often cast upon mentally disordered offenders, fuelling public concern about the risk that such individuals pose to the community. We consider how such offenders may be diverted from the criminal system into hospital care and the sentencing options following conviction. Finally, the challenges ahead for mental health law are considered, in particular the role of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and possible future legal reforms.