LLAW6291 Mental disability and the law

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6291 / JDOC6291
Course name: Mental Disability and the Law
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits
Cap on student numbers: 50

1.2 Course description

This is a course that explores the relationship between mental disability and the law.

This course deals with the relationship between mental disability and the law, examining various aspects of how the law deals with those with mental disability in both the civil and criminal context. The course also addresses the key ethical principles underlying mental health law, as well as the international human rights instruments (such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) that have had or should have an impact on the development of mental health law.

The syllabus covers a range of topics in mental health law and ethics. Students will begin by learning about mental disability and legislative frameworks that govern mental health. The course will then cover various topics in civil mental health law, including compulsory treatment (both in hospital and in the community) and mental capacity law (with a specific focus on available legal mechanisms in preparation for mental disability). This will be followed by various topics in criminal mental health law, including police powers and criminal defences.

Throughout the classes, students will apply the ethical concepts they have learned to the various areas of criminal and civil law which take a different approach to those with mental disability, and develop the skills to critically examine the strengths and weaknesses in these areas. In particular, students will consider whether the law should have a different approach towards those with mental disability, and why. Students will also consider the extent to which Hong Kong’s mental health law regimes are compliant with Hong Kong’s international commitments, and where they are not, whether reforms are necessary and the direction any such reforms should take. Students will examine ethical, legal and policy dimensions in their exploration of the possibilities for reform.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Daisy Cheung dtcheung@hku.hk CCT 406 By email

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Students will be able to understand mental disability and key legislative frameworks governing mental health.

CLO 2 Students will be able to understand how the law treats those with mental disability in both the civil and criminal context, and build ability to critically examine the law’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas.

CLO 3 Students will be able to develop and apply critical thinking skills when considering key ethical concepts related to mental health law, such as autonomy, paternalism and public safety and effectively use such concepts in analyzing mental health regimes such as compulsory treatment in the hospital and in the community.

CLO 4 Students will be able to build legal and academic writing ability through class reflection assignments and acquire skills for conducting independent academic research and writing the dissertation.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

PLO A PLO B PLO C PLO D PLO E PLO F
CLO 1  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓  ✓
CLO 4  ✓

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Class participation (including reflection papers) TBC 30% 5 1, 2, 3, 4
Take home exam 15 Dec 2020 70% 1 1, 2, 3
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/


By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.