High Court rules that delays breach the rights of detained psychiatric patients

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 04 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1058
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    The High Court ruled last week that failure to offer speedy reviews of the detention of mentally ill patients breached human rights legislation.

    In a test case seven psychiatric patients who were detained against their will under the Mental Health Act claimed that after they had applied to mental health review tribunals for review of their detentions they had been subject to delays of up to 27 weeks and repeated cancellations of hearings.

    Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, who made the ruling, summed up the problem: “The basic complaint of the claimants concerns the delay …

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