[After the reform is before the reform : Results of the amendment processes of mental health law in German federal states]

Nervenarzt. 2019 Jan;90(1):45-57. doi: 10.1007/s00115-018-0612-3.
[Article in German]


Background: On the basis of mental health law, which differs between the federal states in Germany, courts can order the involuntary commitment of people with severe mental disorders in psychiatric hospitals, if they present a danger to themselves or to others. Due to decisions of the highest courts, these laws have been subject to revision since 2011. The aim of this paper is to analyze and compare the results of the revision processes in order to define the need for action for federal and state legislature.

Material and methods: Research of the current status of the revision processes in the federal states and a comparative analysis. The state laws were compared on the basis of selected particularly relevant areas with respect to human rights and treatment.

Results: In spite of the revisions the state laws are extremely heterogeneous and in many states do not fully comply with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD) or the highest courts' decisions.

Conclusion: The state laws should be harmonized, particularly where they restrict basic and human rights, e. g. regarding prerequisites and objectives of involuntary commitment and coercive measures.

Keywords: Coercion; Human rights; Involuntary commitment; Mental health law; Safeguard measures; UN-CRPD.

MeSH terms

  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Germany
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mental Health* / legislation & jurisprudence