Thursday, December 12, 2019

Daisy Cheung and others on the Future Direction of Law Reform for Compulsory Mental Health Admission and Treatment in Hong Kong (Int'l J L & Psychiatry)

Daisy Cheung, Michael Dunnb, Elizabeth Fisteinc, Peter Bartlettd, John McMillane, Carole J. Petersen
Published in November 2019 online
Introduction: This article builds on the work of an international conference on the topic of compulsory mental health admission and treatment in Hong Kong (the ‘Conference’) and explores the pathways for reform in this area. A number of jurisdictions around the world are currently re-viewing their mental health laws, in part because of the requirements of international treaties that seek to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. The challenge in the review and reform process is aligning local mental health needs, frameworks and traditions with overarching commitments to treat people with mental illness in ways that safeguard their control over their own treatment, reduce coercive interventions, and protect against arbitrary deprivations of liberty. In outlining four possible pathways for potential law reform in Hong Kong, we intend to also provide a blueprint for regulatory change in other jurisdictions that seek to draw a balance between local needs and international norms. The comparative value of this piece lies not in its direct applicability to other jurisdictions, but in its demonstration of how an exercise like this might be undertaken, and the kinds of considerations that should be taken into account when addressing relevant features of each of the four pathways in alternative local contexts.
     Our article proceeds as follows. Part II presents a brief overview of the mental health system and legal framework in Hong Kong. Part III considers Hong Kong's international commitments for the protection of human rights, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’) (which is incorporated into Hong Kong's do-mestic legal system) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’), which has applied to Hong Kong since 2008. Part IV summarises the key local challenges that Hong Kong faces in any attempt at reform. We then set forth, in Part V, four dif-ferent strategies for reforming mental health law in Hong Kong: (i) theabolition pathway, (ii) the risk of harm pathway, (iii) the mental ca-pacity pathways, and (iv) the consensus pathway. Part VI provides abrief conclusion for the article... Click here to read the full article.

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