Private client

Review of the Mental Health Act 1983

The Mental Health Act 1983 covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder.

An independent review of the act was carried out in 2018. It recommended making sure:

  • mental health patients’ views and choices are respected
  • the act's powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • patients are given the support they need so that they can be discharged from the act
  • patients are viewed and treated as individuals

Our view

When the review's final report was published, we noted that many of its recommendations would need a major boost in funding to succeed.

We also pointed out that policy makers would need to consider how the Mental Health Act 1983 and Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 overlap.

What this means for solicitors

The government published its white paper on reforming the Mental Health Act on 13 January 2021.

The white paper lays out the government’s plans for changes to the Mental Health Act and associated policy, accepting the majority of the independent review’s recommendations, and contains questions on areas where the government still wants to hear views.

The deadline for this consultation was on 21 April 2021. We’ve responded on behalf of our members.

What we're doing

  • April 2021 – we responded to the white paper on reforming the Mental Health Act
  • December 2018 – we responded to the publication of the independent review
  • January 2018 – we gave evidence to the independent review. We made several recommendations, including shorter detention periods, specific safeguards for children receiving in-patient psychiatric care and an urgent review of the use of community treatment orders

Get involved

If you'd like to get involved in our work on this topic, you can find out more about our Mental Health and Disability Committee.

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