Ilieva (2015). Access To Justice For Persons With Mental Disabilities - Without Procedural Accommodation, An Impossibility

In large parts of Central and Eastern Europe, persons with mental disabilities, especially those who are institutionalised, are generally barred from access to the law. Procedural rules regarding legal standing at both the national and supranational level, as well as institutional attitudes of denial operate in concert to keep (institutionalised) persons with mental disabilities caught in a non-place where the law is beyond invoking. These people, held in the exclusive control of the State, are effectively banned from the space the rest of us share where the law has jurisdiction. In that sense, mental health institutions are in reality extraterritorial, not belonging to legal order. In many countries of the region, large numbers of people with mental disabilities are institutionalised. Their abuse and dispossession of access to justice is a ‘hidden human rights crisis’ in the words of the Council of Europe’s Commissioner of Human Rights.