Login (DCU Staff Only)
Login (DCU Staff Only)

DORAS | DCU Research Repository

Explore open access research and scholarly works from DCU

Advanced Search

The legal powers to detain the mentally ill in Ireland: medicalism or legalism?

Brown, Jennifer (2015) The legal powers to detain the mentally ill in Ireland: medicalism or legalism? PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

The thesis examines the extent to which medicalism and legalism have influenced the legal powers of detaining the mentally ill in Ireland from the late eighteenth century to date. Utilising academic literature, government publications and original interviews with treating psychiatrists and service users, the thesis provides the first comprehensive socio-legal analysis of the law concerning mental health detention, the interpretation of the law and the operation of the law in Irish society. It transpires that a specific approach to the legal powers of detention became embedded in Irish society‘s response to mental illness. This approach provided psychiatry with significant power in the detention, care and treatment of the mentally ill and society ardently relied on psychiatry to manage the perceived social problem caused by mental illness. Simultaneously, legal powers of detention dominated by medicalism have been ingrained in the Irish psyche. Over time, however, legalism evolved as a result of the widespread critique of psychiatry‘s role in the detention of the mentally ill. Furthermore, a strong line of international law established that the rights of the mentally ill in detention required greater protection. These developments were subsequently enshrined in the Irish law governing the legal powers of detention and new provisions were introduced that reduced psychiatry‘s control in the detention of the mentally ill. Despite these changes to the law governing the legal powers of detention, it has been found that further movement in the direction of legalism will require a more comprehensive shift among those applying the law, in particular, the judiciary and the psychiatric profession.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2015
Supervisor(s):McAuley, Adam
Uncontrolled Keywords:Powers of detention; Mental illness
Subjects:Medical Sciences > Mental health
Social Sciences > Sociology
Social Sciences > Law
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:20414
Deposited On:14 Apr 2015 10:45 by Adam Mcauley . Last Modified 19 Jul 2018 15:05

Full text available as:

[thumbnail of Jennifer_Brown,_The_Legal_Powers_to_Detain_the_Mentally_Ill_in_Ireland,_Medicalism_or_Legalism.pdf]
PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader


Downloads per month over past year

Archive Staff Only: edit this record