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Mental Health and Law

MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


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Mental health has become a priority for governments throughout the world as research reveals the significant impact that mental health problems have on economies and society. Mental health problems harm the prospects of the individual affected and of people around them. In many countries the law is rapidly evolving to reduce and prevent harm to the individual and people around them that may arise due to mental health problems. Legal safeguards for patients and clinicians are now an integral part of mental health practice. Knowledge of these safeguards is essential to maintain compliance with European and International legislation on human rights and with clinical practice competencies.

This MSc in Mental Health and Law is suitable for, but not limited to, individuals interested in interdisciplinary and organisational advances in mental health care who work in the health and social care sector or represent the rights of mental health patients. Our students are most often graduates from law, psychology, psychiatry and nursing backgrounds.

This MSc is designed to improve students’ knowledge and understanding of the legal standards and procedures that guide professionals in mental health care to achieve a number of objectives:

  • Enhance staff, patient’s and carer’s safety and wellbeing
  • Improve critical care decisions in the context of a wide range of mental health problems
  • Improve outcomes in court and tribunal proceedings
  • Engage professionals directly in the research-evidence base in public mental health issues such as disability, suicide risk, terrorism, refugees and immigration.

Throughout the course of your studies, students will be provided with up-to-date and practical knowledge of critical issues at the interface of mental health and law. Furthermore, we will encourage students to debate clinical, legal and ethical issues that arise in mental health treatment and facilitate exchange about public mental health issues.

Programme topics for the MSc include:

  • Capacity and the patient's wishes
  • Understanding Coercion in Care: Legal, Ethical and Clinical Frameworks
  • Processes in gathering and giving evidence
  • Professional Skills in Representing Mental Health Patients
  • Public Mental Health
  • International human rights law and mental health
  • Conducting research in legal and clinical practice
  • Comparative mental health systems.

This programme will be jointly run by the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Department of Law at Queen Mary. This joint venture will draw on the expertise of academics and clinicians from the Department for Law and the centre for Psychiatry.


Why study your MSc in Mental Health and Law at Queen Mary?


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results have shown that Queen Mary University of London has risen to 9th place among multi-faculty institutions in the UK.

The Centre for Psychiatry was ranked 5th in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 for research on public health, health services and primary care. Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry is comprised of two world renowned teaching hospitals, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London, which have made, and continue to make, an outstanding contribution to modern medicine. We were one of the top five in the UK for medicine in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

The Centre for Psychiatry currently delivers Mental Health programmes in MSc Psychological Therapies and MSc Transcultural Mental Health.  These long- term successful and well established MSc pathways have attracted graduates from over 30 different countries.

The School of Law was ranked seventh in England in RAE 2008. The school was ranked 3rd in the UK and 1st in London in the Guardian University Guide 2015 subject League tables.  In the NSS 2013, it scored 94% for student satisfaction.

The School of Law was placed amongst the top eight law schools in the UK and offers 21 LLM programmes with 800 PG students from over 130 countries.

This MSc is jointly led by Professor Kamaldeep Bhui, from the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Professor Richard Ashcroft, from The Department of Law.

  • Lectures will be delivered by experts including clinicians, lawyers and research-active academics.
  • Learning is supported through an online virtual learning environment.

Key Academics

Course directors

Professor Kamaldeep Bhui
Professor Richard Ashcroft

MSc Leads and Lecturers

Dr. Erminia Colucci
Dr. Daniel Wang

Other lecturers

Dr Ruth Fletcher
Dr Mark Freestone

Further Information on general course queries and applications

Ciara Byrne
MSc Administrator
0207 882 2013

Rehana Patel, Business Administrator
0207 882 2038

Programme Information – Important points to note

Detailed programme information can also be found on:

For detailed information please see attached Postgraduate Academy, Mental Health programme brochure (add the revised brochure attached)

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Mental Health and Law is available to study to MSc or PGDip levels.

The MSc programme consists of five modules. Completion of the first four modules is accredited for exit with a PGDip in mental health: Mental Health and Law. Completion of all five modules leads to the MSc award.

In term  1 and 2 students take Module 1-  Introductory English Law for Health and Allied Professionals , Module 2- Mental Health Law , Module 3 -Public Mental Health and Comparative Mental Health Systems, and Module 4- Professional Skills in Mental Health Law. In term 3, students

completing the MSc award also take Module 5- Applied Research Methods and undertake a dissertation on an original topic in the field.

Period of Study

FULL TIME: PGDip and MSc options are available full-time and students complete all study components within one academic year.

PART TIME: Part-time MSc students participate in the first four modules in the same way as the full-time students but for part-time students, module five (i.e. the research and dissertation module) can be completed over the second year instead of finishing in the first year, allowing additional time and flexibility for conducting research that needs a longer time-frame and for flexibility to pursue other work or commitments.

The PGDip option is not available for applications to study part-time.

At the discretion of the programme organiser and the examination board, those not completing the programme of study for the Masters or PG Diploma may be eligible for an exit option of a PG Certificate.

Flexible Study

We offer a variety of modes of study including full-time and part-time options, giving students many choices to suit their existing workloads and lifestyles. Part-time study is ideal for those with work or other commitments.


Module 1- Introductory English Law for Health and Allied Professionals

This module is an introduction to the English legal system for healthcare and allied professionals. The module is run intensively as a full-time one week module running in the week before lectures for the other semester one modules starts. It introduces you to basic concepts of law, the court system, the role of precedent in the law, the nature of case law and statute law, and the role of human rights law domestically and in the European and international human rights systems. It is not intended to be a comprehensive introduction to law, but instead will give you the tools to understand how law works in the specific contexts in which mental health law operates.

Module 2- Mntal Health Law

The module aims to provide detailed knowledge and understanding of and the ability critically to evaluate the law and practice in relation to the mentally disordered. The module will also examine specific issues which arise in relation to the law relating to mental disorder and the treatment and care of children and young persons, women, and the elderly; the sexuality of the mentally disordered and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 upon the law in relation to the mentally disordered. You will take this module together with students enrolled in LLM law masters programmes.

Module 3- Public Mental Health and Comparative Mental Health Systems 

After providing an overview of the history of Psychiatry and key themes and debates in Public Mental Health, this module will contextualize mental health issues in terms of public responsibility to tackle discrimination and promote well-being and intends to integrate international and comparative perspectives on mental health systems throughout the course content.  The module also examines the place of legislations in the context of a global perspective with respect to international law, comparative law, counter-terrorism and human rights.

Module 4- Professional Skills in Mental Health Law

The module examines key factors that influence the gathering and giving of evidence in courts and tribunals. You will be equipped with the professional skills required for writing court reports and witness statements and  will also understand the practical aspects of applications for Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) under the rules of DoL safeguards. You will be introduced to the procedures and jurisdiction of the court of protection and tribunals. Lectures will range from the roles of professionals in courts to forensic mental health and policing within the context of mental illness.

Module 5- Applied Research Methods

This module is dedicated to learning about research methods, completing an original research project and writing your thesis. You will learn about qualitative and quantitative research methods, systematic reviews, ethics, collecting new data, analysis of the data, and how to write a dissertation.

Example dissertation topics:

  • The efficacy of advanced decisions  as a legal instrument for the right to refuse treatment in psychiatry: A systematic review
  • A systematic review of comparative perceptions of capacity legislation across the jurisdictions of the UK
  • Human rights legislations and mental health: An international overview.

You will take this module together with the students enrolled in the other MSc in Mental health pathways  (Cultural and Global Perspectives in Mental Health Care and Psychological Therapies).

Entry requirements

UK Students

Applicants should have a first degree in a related subject and/or a professional qualification. We wish to include people from diverse backgrounds and career pathways especially people working in the independent and voluntary sector and NHS.

International Students

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website here. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency.

Find out more about our English language entry requirements.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.


You will have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource. You will have access to a large collection of basic medical and dental texts in the main library at Mile End. The Library is open seven days a week. This resource is complemented by the two large medical and dental archives based at the Royal London and at Barts in older, architecturally distinguished buildings that are well worth a visit just to experience their atmosphere.

The diversity of our student body and our research profile reflects our location in one of the most culturally diverse areas of London.

For further information, you can also visit Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry website.

Students by the canal

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


You will be assessed by a range of methods:

  • Module 1: Case law finding library project and multiple choice examination
  • Module 2: Written exam
  • Module 3: Essay
  • Module 4: Essay
  • Module 5: Dissertation.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full time £12,050

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full time £18,650


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

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