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Mental health legislation is now a harmful anachronism

  • George Szmukler (a1) and Frank Holloway (a1)
Extract

Two recent developments have served to highlight the contradictory and discriminatory nature of UK mental health legislation, and indeed all ‘mental health’ acts. These are the Court of Appeal ruling in L. v. Bournewood (1997) and the increasing use of coercion in an attempt to alleviate society's fears of the dangers posed by the mentally ill in the community (Holloway, 1996). At the same time, a third development, the proposal for a Mental Incapacity Act, and the consequent Government Green Paper (Lord Chancellor's Department, 1997) Who Decides provides a framework rendering mental health legislation redundant.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Footnotes
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See invited commentaries pp. 666–670, editorial 657–658, this issue.

Footnotes
References
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Campbell, T. (1994) Mental health law: institutionalised discrimination, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 28, 554559.
Campbell, T. & Heginbotham, C. (1991) Mental Illness: Prejudice . Discrimination and the Law. Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth.
Halpern, A. & Szmukler, G (1997) Psychiatric advance directives: reconciling autonomy and non-consensual treatment. Psychiatric Bulletin, 21, 323327.
Holloway, F. (1996) Community psychiatric care: from libertarianism to coercion. “Moral Panic” and mental health policy in Britain. Health Care Analysis, 4, 235243.
Law Commission (1995) Mental Incapacity (Law Commission Report No. 231). London: HMSO.
Lord Chancellors Department (1997) Who Decides? Making Decisions on Behalf of Mentally Incapacitated Adults. London: HMSO.
Rosenman, S. (1994) Mental health law: an idea whose time has passed. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 28, 560565.
L. v. Bournewood Community and Mental Health Trust ex parte L (1998) 1 All ER 634.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Mental health legislation is now a harmful anachronism

  • George Szmukler (a1) and Frank Holloway (a1)
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