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Changes needed to Mental Health Act 2001

March 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Mental Health Law conferenceThe Mental Health Commission has started work on developing a Code of Practice on the Mental Health Act 2001.  The Commission seeks views on which parts of the Act, if any, further guidance should be provided on and the closing date for receipt of feedback is Wednesday 28th April.  For further information, see this page.

Meanwhile, papers and videos from the recent Mental Health Law conference at University College Cork are available here.  The conference was jointly organised by UCC Faculty of Law and the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association.  Speakers included Mary Forde of Amnesty International Ireland, Patricia Rickard-Clarke of the Law Reform Commission, Michael Lynn, B.L., Diarmaid Ring, Mental Health Service User and Activist, Dr Mary Donnelly of UCC, Áine Hynes, Solicitor, Hugh Kane, CEO of the Mental Health Commission, Mark Felton, Solicitor, and myself.  Dr Mary Henry, former independent Senator, spoke at the book launch which followed the conference.  Each session was lively and informative, with plenty of genuine engagement between the 120 members of the audience and the speakers.  One of the many interesting slides was one from Hugh Kane about the need for reforms of mental health law, which included the following items: 

  • Urgent need for Capacity Legislation
  • Review of Section 59(1), Mental Health Act 2001 [This concerns Electro-Convulsive Therapy]
  • Section 23/24, Mental Health Act 2001 [Re-grading of patients from voluntary to involuntary status] 
  • Measurement of performance, overall impact of mental health tribunals, Section 49, Mental Health Act 2001 
  • Need for automatic independent legal representative for children admitted to approved centres, Section 25(14), Mental Health Act 2001. 
  • Definition of ‘best interests’, Section 4, Mental Health Act 2001