24 March 2019

24th March, 1920 - Right to Appeal

The following extract [Reprinted from Truth] appeared on 24th March, 1920 ...

The Lord Chancellor, the highest judicial officer in the State, possesses in theory a general jurisdiction over the insane section of the community... notices are - or were before the war - exhibited in all lunatic asylums informing the inmates of the legal right to communicate with the Lord Chancellor on any matter requiring his attention. ... In practice it is utterly worthless, as anybody could easily guess in advance ; for what is likely to be the result of giving every patient in the kingdom the right to appeal for help to the Lord Chancellor? It can only be to fill official waste-paper baskets with vast accumulations of preposterous rubbish, and to ensure that all complaints from lunatic asylums will be referred back to the officials complained against, and adjudicated upon by them and nobody else. 

From 1914 through the 1920s the crusading periodical, Truth, published cases where the Lunacy Law was at fault. They had for example published the case of Mrs G who went to an asylum under her own volition for a 'nerve rest cure', but then was certified by her sister and not allowed out for twelve years. She wrote to the Lord Chancellor and others in authority about her own case and reported other things she saw in the Asylum. Her letters were not always get delivered. There was no effective investigation of her accusations. In fact she was punished for whistle blowing. One attendant allegedly said "she told lies, and would never get out until she altered." 

All Rights reserved to The Truth which ceased publication in 1957. Thankyou to The Mental Health Timeline for the date.

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