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by Dr Tim Branton,
Dr Guy Brookes and Dr Nick Brindle
Last reviewed: September 2020
The Mental Health Act 1983 provides for the
compulsory admission and treatment of persons with mental disorder.
Underpinning all legislation in the UK relating to detention
is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). There are a
number of Articles of major relevance to clinical practice but
Article 5, the right to liberty and security of person, is the
right that most directly affects the drafting and application of
mental health law. Article 5 is a limited right in that there are
specific explicit circumstances defined in the Article when it does
5.1 Everyone has the right to liberty and
security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in
the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed
by law: …(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of
the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind,
alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants.
Convention rights have been incorporated into
domestic law by the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998. The HRA 1998
enables people to have cases involving possible breaches
of their human rights heard in a UK court. It places a duty on
public authorities to act in accordance with the Convention and
obliges judges to interpret the law in line with the
This module deals with the criteria and
definitions for detention provided by the Mental Health Act
1983, by exploring:
1. Definition of mental
2. Nature or degree
3. Aspects of risk
4. Medical treatment – available
5. Warranting detention in
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Mental Health Act 1983: Safeguards (England) by
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Community treatment orders by Dr Guy Brookes,
Dr Nick Brindle and Dr Tim Branton
Mental health and tribunal law: Part 1 – an
introduction by Dr Sanjay Khurmi
Human rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 –
implications for psychiatrists by Dr Martin Curtice and Dr
Download take-home notes to print and