Mental Health Law - LAWS6360

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The module will cover the historical development of mental health law (in brief), the Mental Health Act 1983, civil and criminal admissions to hospital, consent to treatment, capacity, sections of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 relating to deprivation of liberty, discharge (including the role of the Mental Health Review Tribunal) and care in the community; proposals for reform; interaction with the criminal justice system.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 18
Private study hours: 132
Total study hours: 150


All single and joint honours law programmes

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Students will be assessed by an individual oral presentation (30%) and a two-hour examination (70%).

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument: 100% exam

Students must achieve a mark of 40% in the exam in order to pass this module on reassessment.

Indicative reading

• Mental Health Law: Policy and Practice (O.U.P., 4th Edition) by P. Bartlett and R. Sandland.
• Law without Enforcement (Hart Pub., 1999) by N. Eastman and J. Peay.
• Mental Health Review Tribunals: Law and Practice (Sweet & Maxwell, 1997) by A. Eldergill.
• Reconstructing Mental Health Law and Policy (Butterworths, 2002) by N. Glover-Thomas
• Gostin on Mental Health Law (Shaw & Sons, 2004) by L. Gostin, J. McHale and W. Bingley.
• Mental Health Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 6th Edition) by B. Hoggett.
• Mental Health Act Manual (Sweet & Maxwell, 20th Edition) by R. Jones.
• Decisions and Dilemmas (Hart Pub., 2003) by J. Peay.
• Madness: A Brief History (O.U.P., 2002) by R. Porter.
• Understanding Mental Illness (Straightforward Pub., 2002) by M. Richards.
• Companion Guide to Mentally Disordered Offenders (Shaw & Sons, 2003 2nd Edition) by N. Stone.


• International Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law (
• Openmind (MIND)
• MIND Legal Network (MIND)
• Legal Action (L.A.G)
• Journal of Forensic Psychiatry (Taylor and Francis Ltd.)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Recognise the legal issues arising in factual situations relating to the mentally ill, personality disordered and learning disabled ("mentally disordered".)
2. Identify and apply relevant case and statute law.
3. Provide an informed and reasoned opinion on the possible legal actions arising from factual situations and their likelihood of success.
4. Demonstrate a sound knowledge and understanding of mental health law, including its historical development and the Mental Health Act 1983.
5. Demonstrate an ability to evaluate critically aspects of the operation of mental health law in its historical, socio-economic and political contexts, including contrasting the legal (rights based) and medical (therapeutic) approaches and reform of the law.
6. Identify and research particular issues in mental health law using legal research skills (library and electronic.)
7. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the relationship between mental health law and other areas of the law, e.g. judicial review, human rights and the criminal justice system.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate competence in a range of generally transferrable skills:

1. Learning skills: The ability to reflect upon and learn from the conduct of exercises as undertaken, including acquiring knowledge and understanding in areas, both legal and non-legal.
2. Problem solving skills: The ability to identify and diagnose set problems, to generate solutions and to evaluate alternative solutions.
3. Self-management skills: The ability to manage time, to evaluate competing priorities and to forward plan.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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