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The first title from the 'Law in Context Series' to fully consider the issues surrounding this subject, this text provides a critical and in-depth analysis of the current regime and the tensions within it by examining the development of contemporary mental health law in its social and political context. Dr Glover-Thomas charts the origins of mental health law from the 19th century to the modern health law reform programme including the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983. The author also addresses the provision of community care and the disillusionment over the use of that policy that has followed. Importantly, the provision for mentally disordered offenders and the use of diversion is examined. Finally, there is a critical analysis of the latest mental health legislation, and some views as to the future of mental health provision in England and Wales. The book is designed to give the reader a better understanding of the law and policy in this field and is directed especially at legal, mental health and related professionals as well as postgraduate students studying mental health law as part of an LLM or those taking postgraduate qualifications in Mental Health Studies.;It can also be used as secondary reading for undergraduate students studying medical law.