Representing patients hospitalized under legal commitment at district psychiatric committees

D. Nachmani*, Y. Melamed, I. Rubinstein, A. Elizur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


The Tel Aviv-Central District Office of the Public Defenders' Office has begun, as a trial project, to represent patients hospitalized under enforced commitments at district psychiatric committee hearings concerning their welfare. This experimental trial was carried out at the Abarbanel Mental Health Center starting 1st January 2000. The results illustrate that the chances of a patient hospitalized under enforced commitment being discharged from hospital are better if he is represented. It is particularly better when cooperation exists between his public defender and his treating psychiatrist. The results emphasize that the inclusion of the defender in the process affects the work program of the committee and its decisions, especially the examination of facts, the hearing of witnesses, the quality of the psychiatric assessment, the examination of the legal aspects and the summing up of the findings. From feedback received, it appears that all parties involved in the process feel that representation on behalf of the patients by the legal defenders results in more just and worthy decisions in every public aspect of the process. The authors recommend that legal representation be extended to all patients who are hospitalized under enforced commitments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145+157
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Defender
  • Forced hospitalization
  • Legal
  • Mentally ill
  • Psychiatric committee


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