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Views sought on Mental Health Law

31 July 2015

Islanders are being reminded that they have just one month remaining to give their views on a new Mental Health Law for Jersey.

The consultation is open on this website until Monday 31 August 2015.

The Island’s current Mental Health Law was introduced in 1969 and, nearly 50 years on, it does not reflect modern accepted standards for the treatment, care and diagnosis of those with mental health issues and conditions.

As part of the consultation, an “Expert Opinion” day was held in July which was attended by health and social care representatives including psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, GPs, occupational therapists, psychologists and Emergency Department consultants; legal representatives including advocates from the Law Society, Law Officers Department, and representatives of the judicial Greffe and Viscount’s departments; independent sector representatives including MIND Jersey, Jersey Alzheimer’s Society, the Citizens Advice Bureau and representatives from the uniformed services including the police, prison and ambulance services.

Safeguards and support

The presentations reviewed the process of developing the draft Law and the next stages through to implementation. An overview of the new Law was delivered, with special focus on the proposed safeguards and support for people with mental health problems who become involved with the criminal justice system.

The proposed new Law will:

  • reflect developments in treatment. For example, where appropriate, it will allow people to be treated in the community rather than in a hospital setting
  • better protect the human rights of people detained under the Law, ensuring that they are not inappropriately detained or treated without their consent
  • make it easier for people to access independent Mental Health Advocates, who can help patients – and their family and friends - understand their rights and provide representation for them, where appropriate
  • allow the Courts to determine whether or not a person is capable of participating in a criminal trial and, if not, outlining appropriate treatment alternatives
  • help ensure higher standards of care and better decision making surrounding the treatment of those suffering from a mental disorder.

If approved by the States after lodging, the new Law will go to the Privy Council and will then be introduced in Jersey in the spring of 2018.

Updating the Law is one aspect of the continued work which Health and Social Services is undertaking regarding mental health, and the Department is currently working on a Mental Health Strategy.

Reflect modern standards

Senator Andrew Green, Minister for Health and Social Services said “I am pleased to offer Islanders this opportunity to comment on something as important as the Mental Health Law. Our perceptions of mental health issues, and our knowledge of the complexity of conditions, has transformed in the last 50 years. We urgently need a new Law which reflects modern standards and is fit for purpose.

“The Law has been developed in consultation with a range of key stakeholders including GPs, charities, the Law Society, the Courts, the Prison and front-line staff.  We now want to provide Islanders with an opportunity to comment, if they wish to do so. A great deal of detailed work has been done up to this point and I would like to thank everyone who has worked on it and who has given their time so far.”

View the draft law and explanatory notes

Comments can be submitted by email or by post.​

Post your response to:

Mental Health Law Responses,

c/o Louise Journeaux,

4th Floor, Peter Crill House,

General Hospital,

Gloucester Street,

St Helier,

JE1 3QS.

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