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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 26 No 2 (2008) International Trends in Mental Health Laws

Protecting the Integrity of the Person: Developing Limitations on Involuntary Treatment

Bernadette McSherry is an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and Professor of Law at Monash University.

The right to respect for physical and mental integrity generally operates to restrict the power of the state in relation to invasive medical research and treatment. The inclusion of this right in Article 17 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities raised concerns about the justifiability of involuntary treatment schemes relating to those with serious mental illnesses. This article traces the discussions concerning various drafts of Article 17 and analyses the right to integrity in regional human rights charters. It is argued that Article 17 should best be understood as limiting certain non-consensual medical interventions, but not all of them.

(2008) 26 No 2 Law in Context 111

   
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