Special Issue "Concerns, Contradictions and Reality of Mental Health Law"
A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2018)
Professor Penelope June Weller
RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne VIC 3001 Australia
Interests: Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities; Mental health law; Mental health advance directives; Coercion and recovery; Therapeutic jurisprudence; Mental health tribunals; Comparative law; Regulatory governance.
Mental Health Law is one of the most contested areas of health related law. Since the first ‘lunatic’ statutes of the 19th century, this specialised area of law has defined the relationship between the state and individuals with mental health problems. Mental health law encompasses civil commitment legislation, deprivation of liberty standards, sentencing practices, the law relating to unfitness to plead and the insanity defence. It invariably operates in the context of unwieldy mental health and criminal justice systems. It is frequently subject to cycles of aspirational reform, often in response to changing social attitudes toward people with mental health problems. Whether and to what extent mental health law is able to shape mental health or criminal justice systems, transform the practice of mental health and other professionals or impact on the lives of individual with mental health problems is uncertain.
Against an already turbulent background, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is posing a fresh challenge to the scope and content of mental health law. On one hand, the argument that the CRPD forbids the discriminatory treatment of people with disabilities in all areas of the law has been met with a strident defense of existing legal mechanisms that are said to protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities. On the other, the current debates about the efficacy of compulsory community treatment orders are seriously challenging the legitimacy of civil commitment laws. While these debates continue, the degradation of mental health services is resulting in a shift toward the incarceration of people with mental health problems. These issues point to the need for a fresh consideration of mental health law.
This Special Issue focuses on the concerns, contradictions and reality of mental health law, including the relationship between the CRPD and mental health law. What are the key concerns facing mental health law? How do these relate to mental health and criminal justice systems? Are there irresolvable contradictions? Are there basic issues that have been overlooked in past debates? How does mental health law and mental health law reform play in the practical context? How does mental health law relate to human rights? What is the way forward?
Prof. Dr. Penelope June Weller
Manuscript Submission Information
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- civil commitment
- deprivation of liberty
- unfitness to plead
- insanity defence
- compulsory community treatment
- Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities