Detention and Treatment Down Under: Human Rights and Mental Health Laws in Australia and New Zealand

Medical Law Review. 19:548-580. 2011

34 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2014

See all articles by Bernadette M. McSherry

Bernadette M. McSherry

Melbourne Social Equity Institute; Melbourne Law School

Kay Wilson

Monash University

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Mental health law reform in recent decades has drawn on the international human rights movement. The entering into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on May 3 2008 has been hailed by some as signalling a new era in relation to how domestic mental health laws should be reformed. Both Australia and New Zealand have ratified the CRPD and Australia has acceded to its Optional Protocol. New Zealand and the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have statutory bills of rights which have an interpretive effect, but are unable to render other statutes invalid. Drawing on the results of interviews conducted with fifty-two representatives of consumer and carer organisations, lawyers, and mental health professionals across Australia and New Zealand, this paper examines the current thinking on human rights and mental health laws in these countries and outlines what changes, if any, may be brought to domestic legislation in light of the Convention.

Keywords: mental health laws, human rights, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K19, K32

Suggested Citation

McSherry, Bernadette M. and Wilson, Kay, Detention and Treatment Down Under: Human Rights and Mental Health Laws in Australia and New Zealand (2011). Medical Law Review. 19:548-580. 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2487706

Bernadette M. McSherry (Contact Author)

Melbourne Social Equity Institute ( email )

Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Kay Wilson

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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