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The evolution of mental disorder as a legal category in England and Wales

Forrester, Andrew, Ozdural, Serab, Muthukumaraswamy, Anandamurugan and Carroll, Andrew 2008. The evolution of mental disorder as a legal category in England and Wales. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology 19 (4) , pp. 543-560. 10.1080/14789940801918942

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The Mental Health Act 2007 offers a significant conceptual departure from prior legislation in England and Wales. By abolishing important medical sub-categories and ignoring calls for capacity-based legislation, it refuses to recognise important differences between syndromes that have been carefully delineated over centuries, and denies medicine and the law common language. These ideological changes are setalongside important changes in services, but signify a new potential for mass preventive detention that will confuse detaining professionals, result in unnecessarily complex legal questions, and create a new potential for blame within a profession that has recently been inquiry (and blame) laden. We argue for the retention of sub-categorisation through a Code of Practice which has yet to be produced, or subsequent clinical practice. Professional restraint and good common sense will be necessary in the meantime.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1478-9949
Date of Acceptance: 13 February 2008
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2021 23:48

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