chapter  13
18 Pages

Mentally Disordered People

The law relating to the treatment of mentally disordered patients in England and Wales is contained in the Mental Health Act 1983, which consolidated much of the 1959 Mental Health Act with substantial amendments introduced in the Mental Health Act 1982. Under the Mental Health Act there are three procedures for applying for compulsory admission to hospital, without judicial proceedings, on the application of the nearest relative or an approved social worker supported by the recommendation of one or two doctors, and one procedure – rarely used – for guardianship in the community. Emergency procedures as introduced by the provisions of Mental Health Act 1959 were originally intended for exceptional use only. The 1983 Act provisions attempt to make guardianship more workable, though there is as yet little indication that many orders, either civil or criminal, are being made. Mental health review tribunals provide an independent specialist forum before which almost all compulsorily detained patients can have their detention reviewed.