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Mental Health, Criminal Justice, Project 39A, FutureLearn, Online Course, NLU Delhi, National Law University Delhi
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Hi, welcome everyone to this workshop on forensic mental health and criminal law by Project 39A at the National Law University, Delhi India, in collaboration with Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. This first of a kind workshop focuses on provisions and protections in Indian criminal law with respect to accused persons with mental health concerns. Be it to ensure that they are fit to stand trial or whether they should at all be held responsible for their actions. And lastly, whether such persons should be sentenced to death. We will cover all of these three stages, but not just from the lens of law and not just law in India. We will be discussing Indian law, Australian law and international law.
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The importance of this workshop lies in the fact that we will learn not only from lawyers, but also from forensic psychiatrists. It is rare that lawyers know what forensic psychiatrists do or the approach they take, and it is also rare for forensic psychiatrists to learn the different aspects of the law from lawyers themselves. Our educators for this workshop include lawyers, forensic psychiatrist and also a judge. The purpose of the workshop is not only to encourage learning, but also to promote practical application. In having educators from India, Australia and the UK, we also hope that this workshop will promote critical thinking and give you ideas about how Indian law can be made better, more humane and therefore stronger.
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This four week long workshop comprises lectures, casework and quizzes, with additional reading accompanying each module. Our educators also answer some questions, which are important, but are not very frequently discussed. Educators for this course are Dr. Bhavika Vajawata, a forensic psychiatrist practising at an institute of national eminence in India NIMHANS,in Bangalore. Judge Michael O’Connell, who’s currently a judge in the state of Victoria in Australia and was formerly a criminal defense lawyer. We also have Dr. Danny Sullivan, the executive director at a forensic hospital in Victoria and who has also served as an expert witness in many criminal cases.
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Saul Lehfreund talks about the death penalty and mental health and is the co-director of the Death Penalty Project, UK and is a renowned lawyer on the death penalty. He’s joined by Dr. Richard Latham, a forensic psychiatrist in the UK who has been an expert witness in many death penalty cases, internationally. We also have Soumya, a lawyer and a legal researcher with Project 39A. And lastly, me, Maitreyi, I am a lawyer and I head the work Project 39 A does on mental health and criminal law. I hope this four week workshop will be a good learning experience for you and will give all of you some insights into how we can better criminal law in India.
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Welcome once again and thank you for watching.

Welcome to the course!

Over the next four weeks, you will be learning about

-Intersection of mental health and criminal law

-Fitness to stand trial

-Defence of insanity

-Mental health and Capital Punishment

Each week will also be accompanied by a designed compendium comprising notes and case law summaries. Don’t miss the weekly wrap up for the compendium!

Know your educators

Maitreyi Misra

Ms Misra heads the work on mental health and criminal justice along with death penalty mitigation at Project 39A, National Law University Delhi. She graduated from Symbiosis Law School, Pune in 2010 and holds a Masters in Law from the New York University. She has worked with Mr Anand Grover, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India in his capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. Ms Misra has delivered lectures at various fora including the Delhi Judicial Academy, and the International Diploma in Mental Health and Human Rights.

Dr Danny Sullivan

Dr Sullivan is the Executive Director of clinical services at Forensicare, Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, Victoria, Australia. He studied medicine at the University of Melbourne, and trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in London and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Dr Sullivan holds an Honorary appointment with the Justice Health Unit, University of Melbourne. He is active in teaching and research, and often provides expert evidence in criminal, coronial and regulatory matters in all jurisdictions in Australia. Dr Sullivan is also an adjunct senior lecturer at Monash University.

Dr Bhavika Vajawat

Dr Vajawat is a Senior Resident in Forensic Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, India. She graduated from Mysore Medical College and subsequently completed her MD from NIMHANS. Dr. Bhavika has written extensively about issues regarding forensics psychiatry in India.

Judge Michael O’Connell

Judge O’Connell was appointed to the County Court of Victoria, Australia, in 2017, prior to which he was the Chairperson of the Criminal Bar Association. With a legal career spanning 30 years, Judge O’ Connell is an experienced trial and appellate advocate and has practiced in all jurisdictions throughout Australia, as well as internationally, appearing in many high-profile cases. Judge O’ Connell has also been a lecturer for the Victorian Bar Readers’ Course since 2002 and was an accredited advocacy teacher with the Australian Advocacy Institute for 18 years.

Soumya AK

Ms Soumya graduated in Law from the National Law University Delhi in 2018. She is a Research Associate with the mental health and criminal justice team at Project 39A, National Law University Delhi. Before this, she worked with the disputes and advisory team at an all service law firm. At the University, she was a part of various legal aid and research projects and took an active interest in the labour welfare issues on campus.

Saul Lehfreund

Mr Lehfreund is the Co-Executive Director of the Death Penalty Project, UK. He has represented prisoners facing the death penalty in criminal and constitutional proceedings and also before international tribunals and courts. He is a leading authority on capital punishment and international human rights law and has published and lectured extensively on these topics. In 2000, he was awarded an MBE for services to international human rights. In 2016, Mr Lehfreund was appointed Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Reading, where he has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.

Dr. Richard Latham

Dr Latham is a forensic psychiatrist working in the NHS in London and also holds a Master’s degree in mental health law. He has contributed chapters on mental health law, risk assessment and management to various edited texts, including the Oxford Specialist Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry. Dr Latham has provided expert testimony in numerous murder cases, high-profile terrorist extradition cases and cases involving mental capacity and refusal of medical treatment. He works pro bono for the Death Penalty Project, UK and has conducted assessments in death penalty cases in Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and Belize.

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Forensic Mental Health and Criminal Justice

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