European Convention on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms.Rome: Council of Europe; 1950

PM v Midlands Partnership NHSFT. 2020;

R v Mental Health Review Tribunal for South Thames Region Ex p. Smith. 1998;

Rooman v Belgium. 2019;

SF v Avon and Wiltshire Mental health Partnership NHST. 2023;

WH v Llanarth Court Hospital. 2015;

Winterwerp v The Netherlands. 1979;

Applying the appropriate treatment test in the Mental Health Act 1983

11 January 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 1


Richard Griffith, Senior Lecturer in Health Law at Swansea University, considers two cases from the Upper Tribunal appeals chamber that clarify the application of the appropriate treatment test in the Mental Health Act 1983

The Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended) provides for the detention of people with a mental disorder that warrants continued compulsory confinement (Winterwerp v The Netherlands (1979)).

To be compatible with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights (Council of Europe, 1950) the detention of the person must serve a dual function:

The Mental Health Act 1983 does provide for the compulsory treatment of detained patients that is provided under the supervision of the responsible clinician (Mental Health Act 1983, section 63). Treatment is widely defined in the 1983 Act and goes beyond medical intervention to include:

‘Nursing, psychological intervention and specialist mental health habilitation, rehabilitation and care.’

Mental Health Act 1983, section 145(1)

The purpose of any treatment provided to a detained patient must be to:

‘Alleviate, or prevent a worsening of the disorder or one or more of its symptoms or manifestations’

Mental Health Act 1983, section 145(4)

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