Local, democratic community justice in the Mental Health Act 1983

Webb, Thomas (2023) Local, democratic community justice in the Mental Health Act 1983. Legal Studies, 43 (3). pp. 523-542. ISSN 0261-3875

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Associate Hospital Managers (AHMs) are members of the local community with a power under section 23 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to discharge people from compulsory mental health care against medical advice. They provide scrutiny of professional decisions and, in so doing, protect patient liberty by providing review of compulsory care. Abolition of the AHMs has been contemplated on numerous occasions, most recently by the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (December 2018), the White Paper on ‘Reforming the Mental Health Act’ (January 2021) and the Government's response (July 2021). Through an historical and contemporary consideration of the section 23 power spanning 1808–2022, this paper argues that removal of the AHMs would be detrimental to the legitimacy of the 1983 Act. This is because the abolition of the AHMs would undermine the principles of local, democratic, community oversight entailed by section 23, and found nowhere else in the Act. The Draft Mental Health Bill (June 2022) does not address these concerns.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Legal Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? mental health lawlegal historymental health act 1983section 23law reformassociate hospital managersmedicine(all)law ??
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Deposited On:
31 Oct 2022 11:10
Last Modified:
23 Feb 2024 01:19