This seminar explores the legal framework and the policy considerations linking law and psychiatry in both the 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 reviews civil mental health detention, mandatory community treatment, as well as the law of treatment capacity and substitute decision-making. Additional topics may include: emergency health treatment (e.g., during the Covid-19 pandemic), financial capacity and powers of attorney, guardianship, 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 professional responsibility concerns. Students are expected to actively participate via class discussion and a class presentation. Guest speakers will provide unique perspectives on several topics.