Job: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Judging Values and Participation in Mental Capacity Law at Birkbeck

3 December 2018

Location: London
Salary: £37,912 to £43,333
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 30th November 2018
Closes: 1st January 2019
Job Ref: 372209

The post is for a fixed-term Postdoctoral Researcher for 2.8 years who specialises in socio-legal studies and mental capacity law, to join the AHRC-funded project, Judging Values and Participation in Mental Capacity Law, located at the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London. This exciting project is undertaking a socio-legal, philosophical, and policy examination of current judicial deliberation in mental capacity decisions, and is led by Dr. Camillia Kong (ICPR), with co-Investigators Professor John Coggon (Bristol), Professor Penny Cooper (ICPR), and Dr. Michael Dunn (Oxford).

You will:

  • Ideally be able to demonstrate specialist expertise and academic training in mental capacity law, judicial deliberation, and/or or socio-legal approaches that will support a philosophical and policy-oriented programme of work
  • Possess expertise in, or experience with, empirical studies, with a focus on the application of qualitative methodologies in legal research in particular
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with a proven ability to work collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary research team
  • Have the ability to work independently to manage academic research and associated activities, including the ability to work towards deadlines
  • Possess a growing international research profile, demonstrated by academic publications in leading national and international journals, or be able to show clear potential to be able to produce such publications

You will be responsible for:

  • Conducting and assisting in interviews with judges and legal advocates, as well as undertaking qualitative data analysis for the project
  • Contributing to legal and philosophical analysis to be conducted within the project, depending on your specific skills and disciplinary background
  • Collaborating closely with project investigators in contributing to the ambitious programme of mental capacity law research around central project themes which span from legal jurisprudence, judicial deliberation, value theory, and legal policy
  • Advancing this programme of work by initiating and developing independent research papers for journal publication around central project themes
  • Contributing to project network activities, including symposiums with advisory group members, strategic meetings with international collaborative partners / centres, and the project conference
  • Representing the Judging Values project at external conferences, meetings, and seminars
  • Contribute to the intellectual life at the ICPR by attending relevant meetings and seminars
  • Any other duties commensurate with the grade and level of responsibility of this post, for which the post holder has the necessary experience and/or training

Grade 7 of the College’s London Pay Scale which is £37,912 rising to £43,333 per annum

Job: Fee-paid Medical Members of the First-tier Tribunal, Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (Mental Health) and Fee-paid Medical Members of the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales

29 September 2017

An exercise is expected to launch autumn/winter 2017 to identify 50 Fee-paid Medical Members of the First-tier Tribunal, Health Education and Social Care Chamber (HESC) and 10 for the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales (MHRT Wales).

HESC and MHRT Wales are responsible for deciding upon the necessity for the continued compulsory detention of mentally disordered patients in hospital or the continuation of a conditional discharge, guardianship, or a community treatment order.

The powers of the Tribunal are significant, with a responsibility to balance the liberty of the subject with potentially serious risk to the patient, their families and the public.

By statute, to be eligible for appointment as a Fee-paid Medical Member you must be a registered medical practitioner. “Registered medical practitioner” means a fully registered person within the meaning of the Medical Act 1983 whether or not you hold a licence to practise under the Act. Registration must be with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK.

Additional selection criteria may be applied; check the JAC website regularly for updates. You can also sign up for alerts to receive email notifications concerning the progress of the exercise up to launch.

PhD: Mental Health/Disability and Implementation of Human Rights in an International Context

22 May 2017

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) at the University of Nottingham invites applications for a scholarship on the above topic, to be funded by the IMH. The scholarship forms part of a developing collaboration with the WHO in Geneva relating to human rights and mental health.

The successful student will be enrolled in the four-year doctoral programme in Mental Health and Well-Being, and interdisciplinary social sciences programme co-ordinated through the IMH. This programme includes extensive training in social sciences methodology, offered through the Midlands Doctoral Training Partnership. While successful candidates will have an academic home at the IMH, they will be formally enrolled in one of the IMH’s partner schools, Medicine (Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology), Sociology and Social Policy, Business, Law, Applied Linguistics (part of the School of English) and Health Sciences.

The scholarship is for four-years, including the initial year focussing on structured research training. It covers the equivalent of full HEU fees and maintenance, and a maintenance grant of. £14,400). Continuation of the scholarship is subject to annual review of academic progress. The scholarship is open to UK home students and EU/EEA students only.

The IMH is a partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham. It was launched in 2006, and has grown rapidly to become one of the leading mental health institutes in the UK, currently with more than 360 members. It has 21 full professors of the University of Nottingham who provide supervision to PhD students and currently holds research contracts to the value of £28million. This comes in from research councils (for example, the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council), the National Institute of Health Research (via Programme Grants, Health Technology Assessment and Service Delivery and Organisation), government agencies, and through charities (for example the Wellcome Trust and the Burdett Trust).

In the first instance, expressions of interest including a draft research proposal, a CV, a list of subjects studied and marks attained in each subject, should be sent to Professor Peter Bartlett, peter.bartlett [at]

Lecture: Disabling Legal Barriers – The inaugural lecture of Professor Oliver Lewis, KCL MA Medical Ethics and Law alumnus

28 September 2016


3rd November 2016, 5pm

Moot Court Room
Liberty Building
School of Law
University of Leeds

This lecture will review the impact of strategic human rights litigation as a tool that can expose and demolish barriers that prevent people with mental health issues or learning disabilities from enjoying equality, inclusion and justice. Oliver will draw on fifteen years work in central and eastern Europe with the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, an international NGO that collaborates with the University and offer students an opportunity to engage with its litigation and advocacy.

Dr Oliver Lewis was called to the Bar in 2000 and is an associate barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, London. He is the Executive Director of the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, an international NGO that uses law to secure equality, inclusion and justice for people with mental health issues or learning disabilities worldwide. He is a recurrent visiting professor in law at the Central European University where he developed a LLM module on ‘Mental disability law and advocacy”, and a faculty member at the Indian Law Society where he teaches an international diploma on mental health and human rights law. He is a trustee of the Avon and Bristol Law Centre, and a member of PILNet’s Hungary board. He is interested in how law serves both as a barrier to social inclusion and as method of addressing injustice. His research has focused on international human rights law and mechanisms, human rights monitoring (including monitoring closed institutions such as psychiatric hospitals), strategic litigation, legal capacity, mental health law, political participation and the right to life.

He served as research director for the first disability project of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, and has been retained as an expert to organisations such as the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.

Register via Eventbrite.


Job: Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Law at Northumbria

17 November 2013

Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Law
Northumbria University -Faculty of Business and Law

Ref BAL13/04
Full Time
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Salary: £37,382 – £45,941

Northumbria is a thriving research engaged, business focused, professional university with a firm ambitious vision. Working within the Law School, you will join a team of highly qualified academics with a passion for enhancing the student experience.

The successful candidate will join the award winning Law School and will contribute to research informed learning and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels with a particular emphasis on Mental Health Law. You will undertake research and scholarly activities contributing to the Faculty’s research profile, together with contributing to consultancy, income generation and business development activities, including providing specialist Mental Health training to external professionals.

With excellent interpersonal skills, you must be able to demonstrate expertise in and knowledge of Mental Health Law including the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Mental Capacity Act and be able to teach effectively on a range of academic and professional programmes using a variety of approaches to student learning. Appropriately professionally qualified, you must have commenced or be willing to undertake doctoral study and subsequent research.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Helen Kingston, Director of Legal Services on 0191 227 3828 or by email

To download an Application Form please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sectors of the community.

Closing Date: 03 January 2014


18 September 2013

KCL and UCL now have a substantial number of faculty and PhD students working in bioethics, broadly construed. This colloquium aims to facilitate high-level discussion among these scholars and link individuals and groups across KCL, UCL, and beyond.

Topics range from traditional questions in medical ethics and law to ethical issues in the design of health systems at the national and global level (public health ethics / global health ethics).

When? First Thursday of the month, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, with the possibility to go for drinks afterwards. Two sessions per term, starting in the fall of 2013.

Where? Alternating between KCL and UCL.

Contact: Annette Rid, James Wilson

FALL 2013

3 October 2013, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Moot Court, UCL Laws, Bentham House – Endsleigh Gardens – London WC1H 0EG

Jonathan Wolff: Paying people to act in their own interests: incentives versus rationalisation

Continuing session in the Lord John Russell

7 November 2013, 4:00 – 5:30 pm


Genevra Richardson: Mental disability and human rights: can principle ever serve global reality?

Comment: Overreaction? ‘Mentally ill patients sectioned unnecessarily’

14 August 2013

The Independent lead today on a story entitled ‘Mentally ill patients sectioned unnecessarily just to gain access to a hospital bed’. To summarise, the House of Commons Select Committee on Health has uncovered ‘more than anecdotal’ evidence that the shortage of voluntary beds for mentally disordered patients has led to doctors sectioning patients under section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA 1983) in order to trigger (rapid) involuntary admission. Under section 2, a patient may be admitted to hospital for mental heath assessment for a period of up to 28 days on the recommendation of two doctors if:

(a)he is suffering from mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants the detention of the patient in a hospital for assessment (or for assessment followed by medical treatment) for at least a limited period; and
(b)he ought to be so detained in the interests of his own health or safety or with a view to the protection of other persons.

The Indy quote evidence from Dr Julie Chalmers ‘that, in some areas, “being detained is the ticket to getting a bed”’. Simon Lawton-Smith, from the Mental Health foundation is also states on the record that: ‘is [sic] was possible a clinician might section a patient who in the past would not have been sectioned in order to access a psychiatric unit’ (Indy’s paraphrase).

What should we make of this? Obviously, it is very concerning that there are not enough beds available for mentally disordered individuals seeking treatment. Mental health services suffer from underprioritisation, and individuals with mental health issues are subject to much undeserved stigma. People deserve better.

However, I also want to focus on the comments of Stephen Dorrell MP, the chair of the Health Select Committee, who said:

“This represents a serious violation of patients’ basic right and it is never acceptable for patients to be subjected to compulsory detention unless it is clinically necessary.”

I want to try outline how Dorrell’s response is possibly an overreaction, using the following hypothetical example:

Let’s say I’m a GP, and I have a patient, Nigel, who has possible mental health issues, but is not at present a risk to himself or others. Nigel, says that he would consent (let’s stipulate that he is able validly to consent) to mental health assessment and treatment on a voluntary basis. I explain to Nigel that there is a long waiting list in our area, and it is unlikely that he will be seen for assessment for some considerable time. I offer him the option of sectioning under section 2 MHA 1983, and explain the risks to him. In particular, I stress that discharge in involuntary detention cases is reliant on doctors’ clinical assessments, whereas voluntary patients can withdraw consent, which in principle will result in discharge (although the patient who withdraws consent runs the risk of being sectioned). Nigel consents to sectioning, and a colleague and I do the relevant paperwork.

To the extent that Nigel is not at present a risk to himself or others, Dorrell is right that sectioning is not clinically necessary. However, on the example that I have given, a) arguably sectioning is necessary, since it is the only way to access services in a timely fashion and b) it is hard to see how Nigel’s rights have been violated. On my scenario, Nigel’s interest in accessing mental health services has been promoted; he has voluntarily consented to being ‘involuntarily’ detained in order to receive the assessment and possible treatment he needs. Of course, the situation is not ideal, given the risk of actual involuntary detention once the 28 day period is up. However, if Nigel is aware and willing to accept this risk,* why should we deprive him of this option?

Of course, I have no evidence to suggest that this is what patients and doctors actually do in order to access mental health services.** Nevertheless, cases like Nigel’s may provide a plausible explanation for the some of the increase in sectioning. And if cases like Nigel’s do exist, I argue that what patients and doctors do is not wrong: they merely collude to game a dysfunctional system. If so, Dorrell (and others) should avoid making simplistic statements about people’s’ rights being violated when in fact they are being vindicated in a non ideal fashion.

*The risk might be mitigated if the treating mental health professionals are made aware that Nigel should really be a voluntary patient.

**Although Nigel’s case is perhaps analogous to those in which doctors manipulate insurance systems in order to provide care to the uninsured, for which there is substantial evidence.