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Development of civil commitment statutes (laws of involuntary detention and treatment) in Sri Lanka: a historical review

Author:

L. A. P. De Alwis

National Institute of Mental Health, LK
About L. A. P.
Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist
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Abstract

Civil commitment is the legal process through which a state can deprive individuals of their liberty based on mental illness. Legal statues of civil commitment are as old as the first therapeutic asylums of the Western world. The evolutions of these standards over the last two centuries reflect the changing landscape of psychiatry, the law and social attitudes towards people with mental illness. In Sri Lanka, the Mental Diseases Ordinance codifies the statuary standards of civil commitment. The current legislature dates back to the Lunacy Ordinance of 1873. The law as it stands was last amended in 1956. The historical development of the civil commitment standards of the current Mental Diseases Ordinance of Sri Lanka reflects similar developments that took place in English mental health law in the 19th and 20th Century. This article summarises the development of civil commitment standards from early 19th century to modern times in Sri Lanka.
How to Cite: De Alwis, L.A.P., (2017). Development of civil commitment statutes (laws of involuntary detention and treatment) in Sri Lanka: a historical review. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 5(1), pp.22–31. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v5i1.7351
Published on 05 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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