Objective and Reasonable? Scrutinising Compulsory Mental Health Interventions from a Non-discrimination Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Is there a right to reject mental health care, or may such care be imposed against your will? Human rights law, developed prior to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), answered this question with clear authorizations of compulsory interventions under certain circumstances: in essence, when the person has a psychosocial diagnosis, is perceived as in need of medical treatment, is unwilling to accept treatment, and/or is at risk of self-harm or harm to others. Taken at face value, the CRPD is radically different. The treaty text neither authorizes nor prohibits compulsory interventions. Instead references to equal treatment set the standard for what is lawful. This article explores the normative content of this standard, and argues that compulsory interventions need to be relevant, necessary and proportionate. It assesses States Parties’ mental health laws against these criteria, and discusses key challenges for them to comply with the CRPD.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • Human Rights Law, disability , Mental health, Discrimination, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-485
JournalHuman Rights Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch