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Title: Human Rights Protection for the Mentally Ill Through Mental Health Law in England and Ireland
Authors: Kelly, Brendan Desmond
Supervisors: Miola, José
Wicks, Elizabeth
Award date: 1-May-2013
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis aims to analyse the influence of human rights concerns on recent revisions of mental health legislation in England (Mental Health Act 2007) and Ireland (Mental Health Act 2001), and the extent to which human rights concerns assist in promoting human rights through mental health law. This thesis demonstrates that human rights standards, as reflected in the European Convention on Human Rights and publications of the United Nations and World Health Organisation (WHO), played a critical role in shaping revisions of mental health law in England (where public safety was also influential) and Ireland (where human rights concerns dominated single-handedly). Mental health legislation in England meets 92 (55.4%) of the 166 relevant human rights standards outlined by the WHO; mental health legislation in Ireland meets 81 (48.8%). Areas of high compliance include definitions of mental disorder, involuntary admission procedures and clarity regarding offences. Areas of medium compliance relate to capacity and consent (with a particular deficit regarding capacity legislation in Ireland), review procedures (which exclude long-term voluntary patients and lack robust complaint procedures), and rules governing special treatments. Areas of low compliance relate to economic and social rights, voluntary patients (especially non-protesting, incapacitated patients), vulnerable groups and emergency treatment. Overall, mental health legislation provides substantial protection for some rights (e.g. liberty) but not others (e.g. economic and social rights). Additional protection is provided by mental health policy, social policy or other areas of law (e.g. human rights law). Future research could usefully focus on the outcome of mental health legislation in the lives of the mentally ill; the relevance of the “third wave” of human rights, acknowledging the broad range of legal, health-care and social-care actors affecting the mentally ill; and values underpinning increased trans-national influences on national mental health law and policy (Council of Europe, European Union, WHO).
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Law
Leicester Theses

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