Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Lawyers are queuing up to defend the rights of the mentally ill..Where?

According to a story in The Independant on line, "Lawyers are lining up to challenge the legality of the new Mental Health Act as fears about the imminent new powers grow among patients"

This follows legislation passed in July which "introduces a much wider definition of mental disorder which could see people with an "untreatable" personality disorder sectioned and brought into hospital". (That is in addition to those people with untreatable (medication intolerant/non responsive) other disorders that have been bought into hospital year after year).

Hell, it seems, anyone with a badge can have a plethera of powers (previously confined to the Big Chief Shrinks). Not that that is necessarily a bad thing...a crap shrink having alot of power equals danger. Now alot of people having some of the power is more likely to lead to hissy fits amongst the Indians and even more confusion from patients trying to get something useful from MH services.

The newspaper (it claims) led a campaign to ensure certain safeguards were in the act, although it declined to mention what they were. However, it fears that human rights will still be breached...although it's fears disappear into insignificance when it comes to those who will be on the receiving end of this ACT.

I haven't seen a copy of the latest MH Act, the last one I saw went on and on and on but one of my biggest concerns is the power of the state to detain people and force drugs on them, even if the drugs are of no benefit. I have to ask WHY? (for some bizarre reason I have Billie Piper singing back to me "Because we want to").

The Government stance "It is part of our strategy to REFORM and improve (HA!) mental health care. We do not believe it contravenes human rights legislation."

More a case of they don't care if it contravenes human rights legislation.

So bring on these lawyers that are chomping at the bit. Has anyone actually come across one yet?


  1. Mandy
    As a law grad, who has worked with all sorts of legal eagles, I find it hard to believe they are chomping at the bit. Unless it equates to a fat wallet and lots of negligence claims against gov, which are always lucrative. But nice to think we have them on side.

  2. I think if the lawyers smell money then they will want a piece of it, whereas taking on a case for an individual (who has been badly treated) is rather less 'headline grabbing' or financially viable to them.

    But hey, if they are queuing, let us see what they have to say, and on whose behalf, in regards to the MH Act.

  3. Lawyers chomping at the bit huh?

    I have an ongoing legal case against my NHS Trust and am finding MH Rights issue friendly lawyers pretty thin on the ground - except for those tussling with each other to represent the system - as the legal advice I am getting is contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau an organisation that in my area at least is overwhelmed at the best of times with queues - on the day the CAB office is open - stretching around the block packed out with people wanting help with asylum issues and benefits problems.

  4. Anon

    My point exactly. Lawyers have no interest at all in individual cases..unless it is likely to give them some prestige.

    And if you aren't financially sound then chances of getting any decent legal representation are low.

  5. Got an email from a friend who is part of a SU panel linked to the Mental Health Act. Not a place I envy but each to their own and they are doing their bit.

    Anyway, they have informed me the Implementation date for the MH Act is 3 November. For those interested.