HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Friday, September 29, 2023

Model Legal Processes for Court Ordered Mental Health Treatment - A Modern Approach

Brian D. Shannon (Texas Tech University), Model Legal Processes for Court Ordered Mental Health Treatment - A Modern Approach, 18 FIU L. Rev. (2023):

The United States Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators established the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness in 2019. As part of its overall efforts, the National Judicial Task Force then partnered with the Equitas Project of Mental Health Colorado to appoint a select workgroup to develop model statutory language for court-ordered mental health treatment, emergency psychiatric intervention, medication over objection, and criminal matters involving persons with mental illness. This Model Legal Processes Workgroup included judges, psychiatrists, medical school professors, law professors, and others whose goal was to draft model civil and criminal mental health laws that could be promoted for broad adoption across the country. A primary purpose of the workgroup’s three-year undertaking was to produce legislative language to recognize modern brain and behavioral research, while still being mindful of an individual’s rights to due process. The Workgroup issued its final report and recommendations in August 2022, which were then endorsed by the National Judicial Task Force in October 2022. 

Along with Professor Richard Bonnie from Virginia and Professor Christopher Slobogin from Vanderbilt, Professor Shannon was one of three law professors who served on the Model Legal Processes Workgroup. This Article discusses and analyzes the Workgroup’s recommendations, includes comparisons to existing laws in many states, and urges states to consider adopting the recommended statutory approaches.

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