This article considers the concept of the ‘nearest relative’ in mental health law in England and Wales and argues, inter alia, for its retention in a way that avoids violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. It looks, first, at the meaning of nearest relative and then focuses on his/her role today, including its link with advance directives for mental health care, and on the tension between nearest relatives and approved social workers and the law. The problem exposed by JT v. United Kingdom in relation to the Human Rights Act 1998 and its implications for the future are considered. The impact of the Mental Health Bill (2002) on the nearest relative is discussed and recommendations to improve the present law are then suggested.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Medicine, Science and the Law|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2004|