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Informed consent to ECT - mental health legislation

Most Acts subject ECT to special, additional regulations (when compared to other forms of psychiatric treatment).

Most of these regulations contain special provisions governing informed consent.

The provisions are designed to ensure that consent is genuinely informed, effective and freely given.

Several Acts set out the matters that must be explained (and understood) in considerable detail. Penalties for administering ECT without obtaining informed consent vary widely – from jurisdictions with no penalties listed at one end of the spectrum, to South Australia where the maximum penalty is a $50,000 fine or 4 years imprisonment.

Disclaimer: These tables have been developed by the RANZCP as at 30 June 2017 in order to allow key provisions in the mental health Acts to be compared. They are intended for reference purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for legal or clinical advice.