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Chapter 19

PSY240 chapter 19.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Hywel Morgan

Jan 21, 2013 PSY240Chapter19:MentalDisorder&theLaw Mental Disorder in Canadian Law - Cognitive impairment: inability to perceive accurately/reason correctly about the outside world - Volitional impairment: inability to exert adequate controls on one’s behaviour - Law defines mental disorder as any impairment of psych. Functioning that is internal, stable and involuntary in nature. - Some mental disorders recognized in DSM-IV-TR not meet legal definition of mental disorder in court - Mental health professionals only act as consultants to triers of fact, providing expert observations and opinions. (valued little, maybe disregarded entirely) The Canadian Legal system - General, law = set of rules and procedures designed to regulate the behaviour of ppl. Fundamental goal to resolve conflicts among people - 3 primary sources of law in Canada: constitutional, statutory, common law. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Canada has a constitutional monarchy (head of state: Queen) - Rights and responsibilities of monarch, parliamentary executives, and citizenry set out in constitution. - Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms unique b/c it guarantees rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens are the same for people suffering from a mental disorder. o Section 15(1) of the charter - Section 15(1) minimize harm that may stem from stereotypical attitudes (e.g. violence and mental disorders) - Infringement of rights requires demonstration of a functional link (causal nexus) b/w mental disorder and legally relevant impairment of cognitive/volitional impairment capacity. (strict limits, however) STATUTORY LAW - Statutes written and enacted by gov’t with support and approval of monarch. - Statutes continually revised and updated (acct. for changes in world and opinions/desires of citizens) but must be consistent w/ constitution. - Two types of statutory law: Civil mental health law o Diff. across provinces and territories (same person treated diff. depending …) o Balance b/w right of ppl suffering from mental disorder to choose to get treatment/not and responsibility of gov’t to protect citizens from harm. Jan 21, 2013 Criminal law (federal gov’t has primary authority) o Provisions for people (mental disorder) not criminally responsible and/or unfit to stand trial o Criminal code (18+); Youth Criminal Justice Act (incl. 12-17)  More rehabilitative philosophy for special status and needs of young people COMMON LAW - Constitutional and statutory written laws have limitations: o Impossible to anticipate every conflict b/w citizens o Impossible to write perfectly clear and unambiguous laws (all-existing laws interpreted and reinterpreted continually) - Courts, tribunal, and review boards write down in legal journals the decisions they reach in particular cases o Later reviewed by courts at a higher level and may also become common law - Under parens patriae the “core” offered by the monarch/state to people, with serious mental disorder can include involuntary definition in a hospital/ asylum. - Quebec relies on civil code instead of common law. o Based on Napoleonic code; reflects ties to France - Both civil a
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