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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Mental Health Law (LAWS10205)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIt is only in recent years that talking freely and openly about mental health issues and what it is to experience mental health conditions have become more acceptable in mainstream society. This course is highly relevant in today's world and recognises the importance of expanding and developing knowledge and understanding of mental health issues and the application of mental health law. The main aim of the course is to examine the development of mental health law and how it is applied to related conditions that arise throughout the spectrum of life, beginning with diagnosis of conditions through early years, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and senior years. As well as examining specific legislation, the course (to a lesser extent) will focus on: changing societal attitudes to mental health and the growing recognition that mental health is as important as physical health; an in-depth investigation into the well-documented increase in the incidence of diagnosed mental health conditions in teenagers and its possible link to the global increase in the use of social media; and the ways in which society can maintain the positive momentum that has gathered over recent years. It should be noted that the basis of this course lies in the law and legislation; it does not seek to focus on medical diagnosis or treatment for mental health conditions.
Course description This course offers students, who may have no knowledge of mental health law, a worthwhile opportunity to build up knowledge, understanding and expertise in this area of growing interest and importance. By the end of the course, students will have gained a high level of critical understanding of the subject area and will competently be able to apply their knowledge to scenarios that may arise at any point throughout the human lifespan.

The course will be structured in such a way that it will track the chronological development of the human lifespan, focussing on important issues such as legal definitions of mental incapacity, the giving of informed consent by children and adults, emergency detention and short-term detention in hospital, consequences for education and employment, and power of attorney. Throughout the course, reference will be made to current mental health statutes and their applicability.

Students will be expected to prepare for and take part in each seminar by completing the necessary reading and research. This course will make use whole class discussions as well as small group discussions of case studies. These will help to give students a sense of personal involvement in the outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course work will consist of a time-limited take-home written assignment of 4000 words (100%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognise the growing need for knowledge and understanding of the law relating to mental health and the move towards dispelling the stigmas attached to associated conditions.
  2. Apply knowledge and understanding of the law to case studies, and to acquire the skills and confidence necessary to critically analyse and comment upon current law as well as academic research and opinion.
  3. Develop the cognitive skills necessary to benefit from the course materials and to address the complex course tasks.
  4. Communicate effectively in relation to the subject matter of the course and develop excellent written and verbal skills throughout the course.
  5. Work in a variety of different settings, namely on his or her own and using initiative, in small groups and in larger class discussions.
Reading List
It is intended that students will be required to read key books, articles and cases, but also to use online resources to enhance learning.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students will have a wide knowledge of the law relating to mental health conditions throughout life and will recognise that mental health is not confined to one age group or one sector in society and can occur at any age and stage in life. This will equip them to take part in and promote the development of the current growing societal conversation. For those students who choose a career in law, this course will give them a greater understanding of, what is at present, an underdeveloped area of law.

By taking part in whole class and small group discussions, students will develop the confidence to identify issues, critically analyse possible outcomes and apply relevant law
KeywordsMental Health; Law; Mentahl Health Conditions; Law and Legislation
Course organiserMr Andrew Farrer
Tel: (0131 6)51 4308
Course secretaryMiss Emma Hughes
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008
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