Dr Camilla Parker has a long-standing interest in promoting a human rights perspective to the development of law, policy and practice in mental health and social care, in particular the mental health care of children and young people. In undertaking such work, she has worked for, and with, a wide range of individuals and organisations, both nationally and internationally, and has written and presented for both specialist and general audiences.
Prior to establishing her consultancy in 1997, Camilla was Legal and Parliamentary Officer at Mind, having previously worked as an assistant solicitor in private practice. She was a non-executive director of mental health NHS Trusts (2000-2006) and a legal and visiting member of the Mental Health Act Commission (1995-2000). Camilla has been a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee since 2009 and is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent.
Camilla was awarded a PhD (Law) in 2017 (Cardiff University). Her doctorate considered the law and human rights relevant to children and young people’s admission to hospital care and treatment for mental disorder. She was awarded an LLM (with distinction) in Human Rights and Civil Liberties in 1993 (University of Leicester). She has taught on post-graduate courses and was a part-time teacher for the Legal Aspects of Medical Practice LLM and Social Care LLM at Cardiff University (2012-2015).
Camilla’s work covers three broad (inter-linked) areas: 1) children and young people’s mental health care; 2) mental health, disability and human rights; and 3) promoting the right to independent (community) living. Examples of her work are set out below.
Children and young people’s mental health care
- Authored Adolescent Mental Health Care and the Law (LAG, 2020)
- Co-authored with Alex Ruck Keene Deprivation of liberty and 16-17 year olds – practice guidance (Research in Practice, 2020)
- Member of the “Children and Young People” topic group for the 2018 review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983: supporting documents February 2019).
- Consultant for the Department of Health, leading on the work to revise the children and young people’s chapter of the Mental Health Act Code of Practice (2015).
- Lead author, The Legal Aspects of the Care and Treatment of Children and Young People with Mental Disorder: A Guide for Professionals (Department of Health/NIMHE, 2009).
Mental health, disability and human rights
- Regularly provides training for practitioners in mental health, social care and children’s services on topics such as consent to treatment, compulsory care under the Mental Health Act 1983, decision-making under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the human rights aspects of mental health care.
- Member of the Department of Health and Social Care’s Oversight Panel for the Independent Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews (June 2020 – present)
- Member of the “Maximising autonomy: consent to treatment” topic group for the 2018 review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983: supporting documents February 2019).
- Special adviser to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the inquiry culminating in the Committee’s report “A life like any other? Human Rights of Adults with Learning Disabilities” (March 2008).
Promoting the right to independent living
- Presentation for online-Conference on Disability Law (University of Basel), Bringing Rights Home: Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Living Independently and Being Included in the Community), September 2020
- Report (co-authored with Ines Bulic Cojocariu) on behalf of the PETI Committee of the European Parliament, European Structural and Investment Funds and People with Disabilities in the European Union (European Parliament, DG for Internal Policies, Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs (2016)).
- Report (co-authored with Luke Clements) examining why the investment of EU funds in institutional care is contrary to EU law: The European Union and the Right to Community Living: Structural Funds and the European Union’s Obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Mental Health Initiative, Open Society Foundations (2012)).
- Report (on behalf of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Europe Regional Office) highlighting the situation of children, disabled people and older persons placed in institutional care, Forgotten Europeans-Forgotten Rights: The Human Rights of Persons Placed in Institutions (2011).