Research Article

Legal landmark for community care of former psychiatric patients.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 24 July 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:248
  1. G Thornicroft,
  2. A Halpern
  1. Psychiatric Research in Service Measurement (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London.


    A recent judgment of the Lands Tribunal has set an important precedent which should decrease the potential for restrictive covenants to thwart the development of the government's care in the community programme. In 1989 a Worthing couple were permitted to convert their own house into a residential care home for former psychiatric patients. Judge B Marder, QC, ruled on 12 January 1993 that the "public interest" outweighed a contractual stipulation that the property should be used only for residential, non-business purposes. This is a radical change in the Lands Tribunal's view of mental illness.