Mentally-ill individuals today are seen as having the same right to self-determination as others. Despite this, involuntary psychiatric care is accepted with reference to the patient's own best interests and to a certain extent, the need for societal protection. The legal regulations with respect to involuntary mental health care lack comparable regulations with respect to physical care. This special treatment is motivated against the background of the ideas as to decision-making abilities of mentally-ill individuals as well as the risks for committing serious crimes.
This doctoral dissertation provides a critical overview of Swedish mental health law from a rights perspective, with a focus both on The instrument of government (regeringsformen) as well as the European Convention on Human Rights (Europakonventionen). The overarching issue is how the legal system addresses those conflicts of interests arising with involuntary psychiatric care as between autonomy, care and societal protection. This ultimately concerns clarifying the patient’s legal status as having the ability to make decisions within psychiatric care.
This doctoral dissertation highlights and problematizes the – partially diffuse – assumptions upon which the law rests. The overarching conclusion is that a strong stance needs to be taken by the legislator in order to clarify the fundamental principles underlying mental health law. Taking into consideration that this is a particularly vulnerable target group, and that this concerns extremely invasive measures, high requirements ought to be imposed on the legal regulations with respect to legality, objectivity, and proportionality.
Stockholm: Jure, 2014. , 407 p.