United Kingdom Mental Health Law

This extensive research paper analyzes U.K. case law regarding mental health to develop a set of recommendations to be used as a guideline for creating an improved legal system for mental health.

This paper outlines the history of mental health law in the U.K., identifying a number of key principles of health care economics and ethics, with a focus on the particular incentives and trade-offs that are raised by these principles at three levels of the mental health system: government and society; purchasers and providers; and users and caretakers. The author points out that self-determination theory (SDT) is based on the belief that innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness are important bases for human motivation. The paper suggests that there is a need to move towards a more open, accountable, and evidence-based mental health care system, which would be fully supported by U.K. law.

Table of Contents
Statement of the Problem
Literature Review
History of UK Case Law
Draft Mental Incapacity Bill
The Fundamental Principle Behind Medical Law in the UK
Capacity Law
Problems in Mental Health Systems in the UK
A Right to Health Care: The Libertarian Objection
Whom to Sacrifice
The Struggle Between Ethics and Economics in Mental Health Care
Four Principles of Health Care Economics
Four Principles of Health Care Ethics
Tensions in Health Care Decision-Making
Government and Society
Purchasers and Providers
Economic Incentives
Ethical Trade-offs
Users and Caretakers
Linking the Past to the Present
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions and Hypothesis
Discussion, Recommendations and Conclusion
“In a perfectly competitive market, the supply and demand for a particular good achieves equilibrium, and no more and no less of the good is produced or consumed than is necessary. In reality, markets are not perfectly competitive, resulting in failures due to unfair competition, uncertainty and externality effects. The market for mental health care is no exception. These failures are so common that some form of government intervention is necessary. The extent of government involvement is influenced by both economic and political considerations and by the existing model of social choice. In the United Kingdom, a careful balance of both individualistic (autonomy and consumer sovereignty) and collective (justice and welfare maximization) principles must be considered.”