Legal Aspects > Mental Health Act (2007) England & Wales

Mental Health Act (2007) - England & Wales

Core criteria for depriving individuals of their liberty based on assessment or treatment of mental disorder


  • Patient must suffer from symptoms of mental disorder

- of a nature (the known previous risks associated with symptoms of their illness) and/or

- degree (the current concerns with risk associated with their presentation)


which place either his safety, health at risk or place others at risk, they are not willing for informal admission and there is no less restrictive community management option.


Nature - Example:

Mr. X stopped his medication, he is refusing any treatment and has early symptoms of relapse. In the past he murdered his neighbour when suffering from symptoms of mental disorder but does not have these specific symptoms currently. He has concerns with the actions of others but he does not have specific concerns about his neighbour and he does not make statements that he wishes to protect himself or harm others. The nature of his illness is such that without treatment there is a significant risk of worsening of his mental health and subsequent risk to the others. Nature is based on past knowledge of the patient’s illness and associated risks.


Degree - Example: 

Mr. Y is presenting with a first episode psychosis and is not known to services. He suffers from persecutory delusions about his neighbour with the belief that his neighbour is planning to kill him tonight. He is not willing for treatment and states that he will return home and kill his neighbour. This is not based on history of knowledge of the illness but current concerns centered on symptoms of mental disorder and associated risks.