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Law and MedicineCurrent Legal Issues Volume 3$
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Michael Freeman and Andrew Lewis

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299189.001.0001

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The Mental Health Act: Taking Stock of the Current Position and Thinking about the Future

The Mental Health Act: Taking Stock of the Current Position and Thinking about the Future

Chapter:
(p.537) The Mental Health Act: Taking Stock of the Current Position and Thinking about the Future
Source:
Law and Medicine
Author(s):

Peter Bartlett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299189.003.0031

There has been much debate on Mental Health Act reforms with little discussion of broader principles. Although everyone agrees that there are problems and have a view on how those problems ought to be solved, the longer view of how the current situation relates to the historical picture seems to have been lost in the immediacy of the present presumed crisis. This chapter provides a start at some of that broader debates. It focuses on matters of civil regulation, since people found to be insane in a criminal context raise rather different issues. At issue are the broader pictures: how did we get to our current legal and political position regarding mental health, and in particular how novel are the problems we face; and what sort of a Mental Health Act do we want? On the latter point, the premise is that consistently with the developing law and politics of human rights, legislation should not inappropriately discriminate on the basis of mental disability.

Keywords:   Mental Health Act, mental instability, law reform, mental health, civil regulation

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