D.D. v Lithuania

Four weeks after the decision in Stanev v Bulgaria we had the decision in DD v Lithuania. The facts are superficially similar, both cases concern individuals with legally questioned capacity, placed under guardianship by the state and subsequently deprived of their liberty in social care homes. In DD’s case her adopted father initially agreed to act as her guardian, although he subsequently requested that he be replaced and was replaced first by her psychiatrist who was later replaced (after losing her position for unrelated misconduct) first by her adoptive father and then by the social care home in which DD was detained. Continue reading


The Appropriation of Suffering by Vieda Skultans

Blimey this blogging is harder work than it looks. And trying to produce enough commentary for it to actual function as a blog whilst also indulging my/our inner desire to be all scholarly and thorough is more difficult than it looks. Maybe once the last essay is marked and the summer is here…

One intended function of this blog was to provide a space for discussing the conceptual stuff that we do not necessarily find time to write about or even think about especially deeply but which floats across our consciousness and makes us think ‘Hmmmm’. The ideas that we encounter between Trusts tutorials and exam scrutiny meetings but only ever file in the big pile of articles we keep on our desks and plan to return to one day.

I have a big pile so I thought I would institute a tradition of posting a blog post about one paper from my pile once a week. The traditional day for doing things like this is Friday but I do not work as an academic on Fridays. (On Fridays I work as a parent contemplating such great imponderables as ‘Where have you hidden your shoes?’, Why are you so quiet?’ and most importantly ‘How long till naptime?’.)

So this is my first such post. The article that had drifted to the top of my pile had looked absolutely fascinating when I came across it by chance when flicking through Theory, Culture and Society for something else. The full cite is:

Vieda Skultans, ‘The Appropriation of Suffering: Psychiatric Practice in the Post-Soviet Clinic’ [2007] Theory, Culture and Society 24:27 DOI: 10.1177/0263276407077625. A copy of the paper can be found online here (pdf) Continue reading

Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust – some scattered reflections

You will note that it is four weeks since the decision in Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust and still no comment on this blog. This is not because I had not spotted it. I had. It is because the implications in the mental health field of this decision seem so far-reaching that I have struggled to work out what, if anything, I wanted to say about it.

Fortune favours the tardy, and in the interim some excellent summaries of the decision have been published here, here and here. I have also volunteered to write a case comment on it so a lengthy exegesis on this judgment can wait for somewhere else. Instead, I want to use this space for a few personal reflections. Continue reading

Is the Mental Capacity Act 2005 out of step with the Council of Europe?

The following is a fantastic guest post by Lucy Series who runs The Small Places blog.

The recent publication of an issue paper on legal capacity by Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, caught my eye. The issue paper is strongly influenced by Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the right to equal recognition before the law. I have written about Article 12 before, and there is plenty of interesting writing about it around on the internet (I particularly recommend papers by Quinn, Dhanda and the Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry for thought provoking reading). It would be easy to dismiss this paper as being mostly relevant to “other” international guardianship regimes and not recently revised “modern” guardianship regimes like the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), but there are elements of it that are quite challenging to practices in England and Wales. Continue reading