What We Do
The Mental Health Litigation Division is committed to protecting the legal and constitutional rights of citizens facing civil commitment to mental hospitals, guardianships and involuntary treatment including the administration of antipsychotic medications. We do this through four staffed offices and a panel of private attorneys. All of our attorneys receive training in issues relating to mental health and the statutory and constitutional rights of our clients. We also provide training to attorneys in other divisions in mental health issues.
Since most of the people involved were poor, powerless, and often incarcerated for life in mental hospitals, they had neither the money nor the credibility to focus attention on the legal issues they faced. All that was to change with the entry of public interest attorneys.
Hon. David L. Bazelon, Questioning Authority (New York:Alfred A. Knopf, 1988)
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The Mental Health Litigation Division provides attorneys for civil commitment proceedings in the District Courts and the Boston Municipal Court as well as attorneys in the Probate and Family Courts for guardianships, substituted judgment proceedings, and cases involving the validation of health care proxies. Civil commitments are handled by both panel attorneys and staff attorneys, while all of the cases in Probate Court are handled by private panel attorneys.