Lecture: Professor Genevra Richardson on mental disorder and the law

Thursday 16 February 2012
Mental disorder and the law: A decade of learning?
Current Legal Problems Lecture: 2011-12
Professor Genevra Richardson, King’s College London
Time: 6 – 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Open to all, free of charge

Well over ten years ago the New Labour government embarked on a programme of mental health law reform. It was an often heated and unedifying process but out of it have emerged twenty first century amendments to an old statute and some more twenty first century amendments to a new statute. These two statutes deal respectively with mental disorder and mental incapacity, two closely related concepts that both law and medicine struggle to define in the abstract and to apply in practice. This paper will return to some of the themes raised in a CLP lecture delivered in 2001 and will consider how far we have come since then, what lessons we have learned, what questions we should have been asking and what the prospects might be for the future.

Genevra Richardson has been Professor of Law at King’s College London since 2005. Before coming to King’s she was Professor of Public Law at Queen Mary, University of London. She has a long-standing interest in law and psychiatry. In 1998-9 she chaired the Expert Committee established by the Department of Health to advise ministers on the reform of mental health legislation. In recent years she has conducted research into the assessment of mental capacity with a team from the Institute of Psychiatry. She has been a member of Council of the Medical Research Council and the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and is currently a trustee of the Nuffield Foundation. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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