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Advocacy and Participation in Mental Health Cases: Realisable Rights or Pipe-dreams?

Terry Carney is Professor of Law and Director of Research at the University of Sydney.
Fleur Beaupert is a PhD candidate with the Faculty of Law, Sydney University and a committee member of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties.
Julia Perry is an independent social researcher with a background in disability policy and human rights.
David Tait is an Associate Professor at the School of Law, University of Canberra.

This article explores the issue of whether there is a role for advocacy in mental health review processes. It discusses Australian experiences of mental health clients, legal advocates and other stakeholders in the mental health review system. It reviews forms of advocacy, the reactions to these, and the contribution lawyers make to protecting rights within this field. Based on fieldwork, a mixed model of advocacy is suggested, which includes legal representation that goes beyond simply ‘following instructions’, but also self-advocacy, systemic advocacy and mobilisation of support networks.

(2008) 26 No 2 Law in Context 125

   
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