This seminar provides an introduction to mental health law, legal policy and practice in both civil and criminal contexts. One portion of the course focuses on the criminal justice system and mental health: fitness assessments, findings of “not criminally responsible”, Ontario Review Board dispositions, and mental health courts. The civil law portion of the course covers civil mental health detention, mandatory community treatment, as well as the law of treatment capacity and substitute decision-making. Additional topics may include: financial capacity and powers of attorney, guardianship of property and personal care, elder law, capacity to instruct counsel, ethical responsibilities of counsel when representing clients with mental health or capacity issues, criminalization of persons with mental illness, use of seclusion and restraint, sexual expression within institutional settings, occupational health and safety issues in the psychiatric facilities or long-term care homes, and the use of psychiatric expert evidence in legal proceedings (risk assessments).
Typical seminars will cover substantive law and statutory provisions, as well as policy issues and examples of practice applications. Students are expected to actively participate via class discussion and a class presentation. Guest speakers will provide unique perspectives on several topics.