There is a fantastic post on the Ballast Existenz blog entitled ‘What makes institutions bad?’. Go and read it.

And thank you to Lucy Series for recommending this blog to me.



Talking about mental disability

Finding appropriate terms for mental disability is challenging. Over times terms that have benign origins or specific clinical meanings can gradually become pejorative. And the fact that many people with mental disabilities have low social visibility mean that even well-intentioned people may not realise that certain terms now sound offensive. Continue reading

Stanev v Bulgaria

Rusi Stanev was placed under partial guardianship by the Bulgarian authorities in 2002. His guardian was a public official whom he had never met. This guardian asked his municipal authority to place him in a social care home without seeking his consent, and also arranged for Mr Stanev’s small social security income to be paid direct to the home and not to pass through his hands. The home was in Pastra 400km from Mr Stanev’s home town of Ruse. Conditions in the home were found by the CPT in 2003 to be so poor as to amount to degrading treatment for the purposes of Art 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. When Mr Stanev tried to leave staff brought him back. When he asked to be discharged from guardianship he was told that this was not in his interests. When his lawyer applied to the courts to have him discharged from guardianship she was told that the application could not be heard because his guardian had not authorised it.

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down their judgment on the 17th Jan. The judgment can be found on BAILII here. Continue reading

SLSA Conference 2012

The next annual SLSA conference is being held in sunny Leicester from the 3-5th April. We are lucky to be going back to De Montfort University again who did an excellent job of hosting the conference in 2009. More information here.

Earlybird rates for delegates close on Jan 31st so if you are interested it would pay to sign up soon.

Peter and Nell will be coordinating the mental health and mental capacity law stream and are lucky to have an excellent range of papers already submitted. If you are keen on participating please submit an abstract asap, and at least within the next week as we need to allow the organisers some time to schedule sessions and print the abstract book. The call for papers is below:

The past year has been a lively one for those interested in mental health and mental capacity law. The new tribunal system is bedding into the English and Welsh law, and the government is proposing major changes to incapacity benefits. Litigation is starting to appear about just how far the government can cut services, and a variety of decisions has called the effect of the DOLS into question in England and Wales. We continue to see the results of how the new Scots legislation, and the Mental Health Act 2007 south of the border, are working in practice (CTOs, anyone?). At the international level, the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has has entered into effect; now we need to figure out what it means, and how it should be implemented. While these legal developments provide a particularly apt occasion for the stream, papers from all areas of the law relating to mental health and mental disability are welcome, including:

• Civil, criminal or informal mechanisms of control;

• The law relating to incapacity benefits, and other issues relating to care and programmes in the community;

• International law relating to people with mental disabilities;

• The role of administration or care-givers in the provision of services;

• The role or experience of service users in mental health care.

We impose no restriction on methodology: papers may be empirical, policy-centred, historical, analytic, traditional legal, or theoretical, in approach. The stream co-ordinators are also happy to consider joint sessions with other streams in the conference where appropriate.

Welcome to our blog

This is a new venture for us and the first blog created by the School of Law at Nottingham (so we are only about 15 years behind the curve).

Our aims for this blog are wide and vague. We want to use it to to discuss developments in case-law and legislation both domestically and internationally, to let people know about forthcoming events concerning mental health and capacity law, to give people a chance to reflect on theory and practice, especially in the open-ended and inconclusive fashion which most journals (understandably) resist publishing and finally to give people a chance to vent about aspects of law or policy which frustrate, confuse or amaze them.

But where we go will largely depend on the responses we get to our posts and the contributions we receive from others. If you have news or views which you would like to add please get in touch.