The Autonomy of the Persons with Mental Health Issues in Evidence-Based Psychiatry

Rezarta Demneri
Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, University of Tirana


The scientific accuracy of evidence-based psychiatry is anything but established due to the non-physicality of its object of study, the human psyche. A mental capacity assessment gains legal relevance when evaluating the need for an involuntary treatment or placement. The UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) provides that a person with mental health issues should benefit from equal recognition before the law in all aspects of life. This includes the right to consent or deny medical treatment. This paper aims to outline the shortcomings of the legal regulation in Italy and Albania concerning informed consent to medical treatment when persons with mental health issues are involved. A case-sensitive evaluation of the mental capacity and consequently of the legal competence of the person, typical of common law countries such as the UK, is more attuned to the principles of medical ethics and deontology, which recognise that the person with mental health issues is entitled to his/her autonomy.