Extract from introduction:
Few areas of law and policy are as vibrant as that which surrounds the empowering and disempowering of those who are diagnosed as having some form of mental disorder or as having a compromised capacity to make choices that would otherwise be respected. This vibrancy is almost certainly due to the fact that the normative framework of human rights standards has emerged as a transnational constitutional backdrop for how societies deal with vulnerable people, and also – and probably more importantly – the development of understanding what this human rights framework entails. As a result, changes in mental health law and policy have been a significant feature of recent decades. There has been a steady stream of judgments from courts, including from international courts such as the European Court of Human Rights, as to what a rights framework requires. This developing jurisprudence has played a role in the regularly changing legislation in most common law jurisdictions. Statutes governing matters of mental health law have been updated, and statutes regulating mental capacity issues have been introduced to replace common law approaches. Calls that were made for statutes that combine mental health and mental capacity principles are now becoming more prominent.