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Protecting the Rights of People with Mental Disabilities:The European Convention on Human Rights

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This paper will analyse the essential legal requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights which touch on the lives (and deaths) of people with mental disabilities. It will examine the procedural safeguards which must be followed when involuntarily detaining a person under mental health legislation; access to a court to test the lawfulness of detention; the requirement to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence; and the right to life, including investigation after a death. The paper will discuss some of the factors which explain the relative scarcity of mental disability cases decided by the Strasbourg Court. In conclusion there will be an examination of the role of lawyers and other key players in mental disability, and how stakeholders can move forward to prompt much needed social reform.


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