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Law in Context

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

From Autonomy to Dignity: Treatment for Mental Disorders and the Focus for Patient Rights

Mary Donnelly is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University College Cork, Ireland.

This article analyses the autonomy-based rights approach to treatment for mental disorders and argues that, because of its focus on capable patients, an autonomy-based framework fails to protect patients who lack the capacity to consent to treatment. A human rights framework which looks beyond autonomy is required. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights serves as a starting point in this regard by emphasising the rights to dignity, privacy and bodily integrity.

(2008) 26 No 2 Law in Context 37

   
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