Randomised Controlled Trials of Mental Health Legislation
There is always potential for conflict to arise between scientific methods and the rule of law. This article considers a recent example of such conflict which can arise when attempts are made to evaluate the effectiveness of mental health legislation via the conduct of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In particular, the author discusses the use of RCTs in the United States to evaluate the use of Community Treatment Orders. These RCTs involve the release — for the purposes of the research — of compulsory patients under the legal regime. The article concludes that, whilst we may admire the imagination and boldness of the American researchers who have conduct such research, we should think hard before following their methods in any legal system like the English, which values so highly the supremacy of legislation.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Keywords: Mental Health; Psychology; Health Law; American; England; Community Treatment Orders
Research Type: Journal Article