Friday, 9 July 2010
Another of my books, The Nearest relative Handbook, was reviewed recently in the Solicitors Journal. The reviewer was David R Pickup, a barrister who practises from St Johns Buildings chambers in Manchester. This is what he wrote.
A client telephones the office and tells you that Aunt Flo is demented and no one will help get her into hospital. Aunt Flo then phones you and asks why the nice social worker is talking to her husband about getting her admitted. You finally succumb to the pressure of it all and get sent to the hospital for distressed lawyers and you want your nearest and dearest to get you out and back to the office.
These scenarios are all about the role of the nearest relative. A phrase used in mental health law for the important person who has a function in admissions where a patient does not agree to detention and also in discharge. This is not to be confused with next of kin, which has little reality in law or otherwise, but is readily understood by most people.
This book covers the complex subject in an excellent way. It is clear and full of case studies which illustrate the point well. The law has changed recently with amendments to the 1983 Mental Health Act and these are discussed. In the book we find who the nearest relative is and how the law treats who is the best person to be consulted about admissions, who can object, who can request an assessment for admission and in some cases request a person’s discharge. A person can be removed if not suitable to act in this role.
The law has been updated to introduce equal treatment to same sex relationships, which the book also covers. Mental health lawyers will find this an extremely useful reference.