Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


The issues surrounding the legal responsibility of caring for and maintaining a person with a mental illness go back almost 2500 years. There has been considerable debate about the questions of involuntary hospitalization and the right to refuse treatment in the past few decades, especially in North America and Western Europe. As the importance of mental health and rights of persons with mental disabilities take on greater significance internationally, however, the debate is moving to the rest of the world. The objective of this article is to look at the various perspectives in the current debate and at how different countries around the world have answered these questions.