MENTAL HEALTH LAW GUIDE
This guide was prepared for students working in the Suffolk University Law School Pro Bono Program, although some of the resources may be useful to others doing mental health law research.
Mental Health law covers many areas including voluntary admissions, involuntary admission and committments, long term civil commitments, criminal competency and responsisbility, guardian and conservatorships, mental health evidence, client privielges, substance abusers and appeals. Most areas of mental health law are governed by state laws. This guide introduces some important resources for mental health law and information on how to find additional materials particular to the legal problem you are researching. Where appropriate this guide links to other guides prepared for the Suffolk University Law School Pro Bono Program or by the Moakley Law Library.
Moakley Law Library Catalog
Secondary sources are a good place to start when researching mental health law. The following treatises and form books analyze and explain the law, give citations to statutes and leading cases, and provide sample forms.
Christopher Slobogin, Arti Rai & Ralph Reisner, Law and the Mental Health System: Civil and Criminal Aspects (2009)
John Parry & Eric Drogin, Mental Disability Law, Evidence and Testimony. A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Lawyers, Judges and Mental Disability Professionals (2007)
John Parry, Criminal Mental Health and Disability Law, Evidence and Testimony, A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Lawyers, Judges andMental Disability Professionals (2009)
Michael Perlin, Mental Disability Law: Civil and Criminal
Uniform Probate Code (CCH 2001)
Note: Massachusetts Practice Series is only available on Westlaw.
Stan Goldman, CPCS Mental Health Proceedings in Massachusetts: a Manual for Defense Counsel (2009)
Sean Dunphy, Probate Law and Practice, with Forms as found in Volumes 21-2, Massachusetts Practice Series (Westlaw)
John Cross et al, Guardianship and Conservatorship in Massachusetts (Lexis)
Christopher Mehne, et al, Massachusetts Guardianship and Conservatorship Practice (MCLE)
Massachusetts Rules of Court (State) (West 2010)
Mental Health Law Reporters, Newsletters and Journals
Mental Health Weekly
Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter
Mental Health Law Report(er)
Other Agencies and Non-Profits
"The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities. The Department establishes standards to ensure effective and culturally competent care to promote recovery."
"The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) oversees the substance abuse and gambling prevention and treatment services in the Commonwealth. Responsibilities include: licensing programs and counselors; funding and monitoring prevention and treatment services; providing access to treatment for the indigent and uninsured; developing and implementing policies and programs; and tracking substance abuse trends in the state."
"The Department of Youth Services is the juvenile justice agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our mission is to protect the public and prevent crime by promoting positive change in the lives of youth committed to our custody, and by partnering with communities, families, government and provider agencies toward this end. We accomplish this mission through interventions that build knowledge, develop skills and change the behavior of the youth in our care."
"The primary mandate of the Mental Health Litigation Unit is to provide trial and appellate representation to indigent persons against whom are filed petitions seeking commitment to public or private psychiatric facilities or seeking surrogate decision-making authority."
The MHLAC has a great resources and publications site. It provides an extensive list of MA and national websites and information (including handbooks, complaint processes, etc).
"The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC) helps children and adults with mental disabilities protect their rights and obtain appropriate services."
A guide to mental health law as provided by the trail court library system - with direct links to primary sources.
"The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the lives of people with mental illnesses through changes in policy and law."
"TAC promotes laws, policies, and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder."
The TAC has a great legal resource website with federal and state laws, case summaries, briefs, and legal articles.
Where available, links to free unannotated versions are provided.
MGL Chapter 201 – Guardians and Conservators
MGL Chapter 19 – Department of Mental Health
MGL Chapter 123 – Mental Health
MGL Chapter 123B – Mental Retardation
MGL Chapter 112 - Registration of Certain Professions and Occupations
MGL Chapter 120 – Department of Youth Services
MGL Chapter 233, § 20B. Witnesses & Evidence - Privileged communications; patients and psychotherapists
Code of Massachusetts Regulations [CMR] - KFM 2435 1978.A213
104 CMR – Department of Mental Health Regulations
115 CMR – Department of Mental Retardation Regulations
110 CMR 11 – Dpt. Of Children and Children and Families – Medical Authorizations
*Note: Westlaw and Lexis are subscription databases with limited availability. Other databases or resources may only be available to members of the Suffolk community or from computers at the Law Library.
If you have questions or comments, please email email@example.com.
Created: November 19, 2009.
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