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Laws 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/laws6010002

Collegiality, Therapy and Mediation—The Contribution of Experts in Swedish Mental Health Law

1
Department of Social Work, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2
Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rhonda Powell
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Human Rights Law and Health Law)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [221 KB, uploaded 17 January 2017]

Abstract

Independent experts serve a vital role in how the human rights of patients are protected in mental health law. This article investigates the contribution of court-appointed psychiatrists (APs) in civil commitment court hearings. Analysis is based on 12 court hearings that were audiotaped. Supplementary informal interviews with participants were also conducted. Data were analysed through a combination of rhetoric analysis and discourse analysis. Analysis of the hearings reveals that APs do not fulfil their function to critically investigate treating psychiatrists’ (CPs) recommendations that patients meet commitment criteria. They typically do not ask any questions from CPs, and the few questions that are asked do not cast light on the legal issues at stake. To further understand the role of APs, their communication has been analyzed in terms of four interpretative repertoires: collegial, disclosing, therapeutic and mediating. In conclusion, the human rights of patients subjected to involuntary commitment might be at risk when therapeutic concerns are built into the process. The specific Swedish model where APs deliver their own assessment about whether commitment criteria are met may be counterproductive. This argument possibly extends to the role of medical members in mental health tribunals in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. View Full-Text
Keywords: experts; court hearings; compulsory psychiatric care; civil commitment; mental health law; human rights; therapeutic jurisprudence; non-adversarial law; interpretative repertoires experts; court hearings; compulsory psychiatric care; civil commitment; mental health law; human rights; therapeutic jurisprudence; non-adversarial law; interpretative repertoires
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sjöström, S.; Jacobsson, M.; Hollander, A. Collegiality, Therapy and Mediation—The Contribution of Experts in Swedish Mental Health Law. Laws 2017, 6, 2.

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