What We Do

Spring flowers

Photo Credit: CPCS Staff

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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Our Services:

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.

Comprised of Administration (Boston Office) and four commitment units: Brockton, Roxbury, Springfield and Worcester.

Mental Health News

March 24 – 7:00 PM, Boston: Harvard Center for Law, Brain & Behavior hosts: Poverty, Violence, and the Developing Mind March 15, 2016 - Concentrated poverty is on the rise, and an increasing number of children are at risk for exposure to severe violence and dangerous living conditions. What are the implications of trauma exposure for healthy brain development? During this panel event, Dr. Kerry Ressler (of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School) will discuss the risks poor, urban environments pose for […]
MHLD Yahoo Group Important Notice January 17, 2016 - Mental Health Litigation Division Panel Members – Yahoo Group Membership: Membership in the Mental Health Litigation Division Discussion Yahoo Group is a requirement for all attorneys on the MHLD Panel. If you are not a member of the Yahoo group, you should join now. You will need a Yahoo account. Some of you should have […]
MHLAC November 9, 2015 – New Approaches to Treatment & Services for Persons with Co-Occurring Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders October 27, 2015 - MHLAC’s fall training is taking place on November 9, 2015 at MCLE in Boston. This year’s program is New Approaches to Treatment & Services for Persons with Co-Occurring Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders  You can find the agenda and registration here.  This program does not replace the requirement that all panel members must take the Mandatory Guardianship […]
Register for Worcester Mandatory Guardianship Training December 4th – Limited to current MHLD panelists October 27, 2015 - The second CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division guardianship training is scheduled for Friday, December 4, 2015 at the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. You must register for this FREE training. Please use the following link to register and find a description of the event click here
MHLD Requests for Appoint of Appellate Counsel September 30, 2015 - Requests for appointment of appellate counsel in civil commitment, guardianship and substituted judgment cases should be sent to MHAppeals@publiccounsel.net and must include the following: 1. Notice of Appeal2. Appeal Intake Form  3. Supporting documentation such as the order, motions and objections Questions should be addressed to MHAppeals@publiccounsel.net.   
Mandatory Guardianship Training November 13th Registration September 17, 2015 - The first CPCS guardianship training is scheduled for Friday, November 13, 2015 at the Springfield Technical Community College.  The training is free, but you need to register.  A full description of the event and registration are available using the following link:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cpcs-mandatory-guardianship-training-tickets-18521182355​
UMASS Announces Psychosocial Webinar Series August 18, 2015 - The UMASS Systems & Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC) announced a new webinar series this week. Starting October 14 they will offer seminars on a variety of topics including: supports for transition-aged youth innovations in integrated care risk assessment mental health screening wellness co-occurring disorders More information
DMH Schedules Hearings on Fresh Air Regulations Sept. 15 at 2:00 pm August 18, 2015 - The Department of Mental Health has filed regulations for public comment  implementing the “Reasonable Daily Access to Fresh Air” Act of 2014. This act added access to fresh air to the list of rights of individuals hospitalized in psychiatric facilities operated, contracted or licensed by DMH.    The hearing on the proposed regulations will take place on […]
Mental Health Litigation Schedules First Sessions for Mandatory Training for Guardianship Attorneys August 7, 2015 - MHLD panel members are required to complete a day-long training on representing respondents in guardianship cases during the FY 16, which runs from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. This will also satisfy the requirement that panelists complete 8 hours of CLE.The MHLD will offer regional trainings at locations statewide. The first two trainings, […]
National Empowerment Center Announces Free Peer-Related Webinars August 6, 2015 - The National Empowerment Center has announced several peer-related online seminars. They are all free and cover subjects from re-entry to suicide prevention. More information is available here.
Comments, criticisms, suggestions or trouble viewing this page email: mhweb@publiccounsel.net