As Professor Eastman (2000) has noted: the law is fond of ‘using’ psychiatry for its own ends at times, but the Mental Health Act 1983 is an example of psychiatrists using the law as a tool of public policy. This makes their education in and interpretation of it all the more vital. The MRCPsych part II module ‘Ethics and the Law’ requires candidates to demonstrate knowledge of relevant mental health and human rights legislation, and to illustrate the appropriate application of such information (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2001). We submit a masked case study that in practice seems to us a misinterpretation of the Act.
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