Section Description Provided by Instructor
This seminar will focus on some of the major issues in mental health law, both civil and criminal. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the historical development of mental health law, given the impact of temporally contingent factors on the current shape of the law. Empirical studies of the law in action will be used to illustrate the consequences of various approaches to the problems that mental health law is meant to address. Attention will be paid to the ever-present tension between impulses to act beneficently toward persons with mental disorders on one hand, and to respect their autonomy on the other. Students will be offered an opportunity to visit a psychiatric hospital and to interact with psychiatrists and with persons with mental disorders who have experienced aspects of mental health law (e.g., civil commitment, outpatient commitment) that will be discussed in the seminar.
Evaluation: Each student will be expected to write and present a paper exploring some aspect of the issues raised by mental health law and practice. Grades will be based 60% on the paper and its presentation, 40% on class participation.
M 4:20p - 6:10p
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (automatic), Major (only upon consultation)