LLAW6291 & JDOC6291

General Course Information

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

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 (which includes individuals with various kinds of mental impairment and mental disorders) in both the civil and criminal context. The course 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 course will also have a significant focus on the user perspective, which will include interactive sessions with service users in Hong Kong.

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 criminal mental health law, including police powers and defences. This will then be followed by topics in civil mental health law, including compulsory detention and treatment in hospital and conditional discharge, and mental capacity law, including the assessment of capacity and how best interest determinations on behalf of individuals without capacity are and should be made.

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

Learning Outcomes

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 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 and JD Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link:

LLM – https://course.law.hku.hk/llm-plo/

JD – https://course.law.hku.hk/jd-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Class participation TBC 20% 5 1, 2, 3, 4
Mid-term exam 17 Oct 2023 30% 1, 5 1, 2, 3
Take home exam 11 Dec 2023 50% 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: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 10 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 10 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).

Learning Resources

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/