Mental health law's concern with justice, so much a part of the discussion of civil commitment, the insanity defense and other traditional mental health subjects, has been a neglected subject in one important area. Malpractice claims against mental health professionals commonly are slow, expensive and embarrassing for the professional and the injured. Processing these claims creates great stress on plaintiffs and defendants alike. The legal system has been insensitive to the harm it inflicts on mental health patients who pursue malpractice claims. Too often even patients' lawyers have also ignored the potential for harm. Because the current system conflicts with the most fundamental values of the mental health professions themselves, those professions should take the lead in reforming the processing of mental health claims, or at least offer alternative forms which are more nearly consistent with the values and principles of mental health care.


The Justice Mission of American Law Schools