Lunacy Act 1890

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1890 c. 5

Lunacy Act, 1890

(53 & 54 Vict.) CHAPTER 5.

An Act to consolidate certain of the Enactments respecting Lunatics.

[29th March 1890]

B E it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:



S-1 Short title.

1 Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as theLunacy Act, 1890.

S-2 Extent of Act.

2 Extent of Act.

2. Save as in this Act otherwise expressly provided, this Act shall not extend to Scotland or Ireland.

S-3 Commencement.

3 Commencement.

3. This Act shall come into operation, save as in this Act otherwise expressly provided, on the first day of May one thousand eight hundred and ninety.

I Reception of Lunatics.


Reception of Lunatics.

Reception Orders on Petition.

Reception Orders on Petition.

S-4 Private patients not found lunatic by inquisition to be receivedonly under order of judicial authority.

4 Private patients not found lunatic by inquisition to be receivedonly under order of judicial authority.

(1)4.—(1.) Subject to the exceptions in this Act mentioned, a person, not being a pauper or a lunatic so found by inquisition, shall not be received and detained as a lunatic in an institution for lunatics, or as a single patient, unless under a reception order made by the judicial authority herein-after mentioned. A relative of the person applying for an order under this section or of the lunatic, or of the husband or wife of the lunatic, shall not be capable of making such order.

(2)Forms 1, 2, 8. (2.) The order shall be obtained upon a private application by petition accompanied by a statement of particulars and by two medical certificates on separate sheets of paper.

S-5 Petition for reception order. Form 1.

5 Petition for reception order. Form 1.

(1)5.—(1.) The petition shall be presented, if possible, by the husband or wife or by a relative of the alleged lunatic. If not so presented it shall contain a statement of the reasons why the petition is not so presented and of the connexion of the petitioner with the alleged lunatic, and the circumstances under which he presents the petition.

(2) (2.) No person shall present a petition unless he is at least twenty-one years of age and has within fourteen days before the presentation of the petition personally seen the alleged lunatic.

(3) (3.) The petitioner shall in the petition undertake that he will personally, or by someone specially appointed by him, visit the, patient once at least in every six months; and the undertaking shall be recited in the order.

(4)Form 2. (4.) The petition shall be signed by the petitioner and the statement of particulars by the person making the statement.

S-6 Procedure upon petition for a reception order. Form 3.

6 Procedure upon petition for a reception order. Form 3.

(1)6.—(1.) Upon the presentation of the petition the judicial authority shall consider the allegations in the petition and statement of particulars and the evidence of lunacy appearing by the medical certificates, and whether it is necessary for him personally to see and examine the alleged lunatic; and, if he is satisfied that an order may properly be made forthwith, he may make the same accordingly; or, if not so satisfied, he shall appoint as early a time as practicable, not being more than seven days after the presentation of the petition, for the consideration thereof; and he may make such further or other inquiries of or concerning the alleged lunatic as he may think fit. Notice of the time and place appointed for the consideration of the petition (unless personally given to the petitioner) shall be sent to the petitioner by post in a prepaid registered letter addressed to him at his address as given in the petition.

(2) (2.) The judicial authority, if not satisfied with the evidence of lunacy appearing by the medical certificates, may, if he thinks it necessary so to do, visit the alleged lunatic at the place where he may happen to be.

(3) (3.) The petition shall be considered in private, and no one except the petitioner, the alleged lunatic (unless the judicial authority shall in his discretion otherwise order), any one person appointed by the alleged lunatic for that purpose, and the persons signing the medical certificates accompanying the petition, shall, without the leave of the judicial authority, be present at the consideration thereof.

(4) (4.) At the time appointed for consideration of the petition the judicial authority may make an order thereon or dismiss the same, or, if he thinks fit, may adjourn the same for any period not exceeding fourteen days for further evidence or information, and he may give notice to such persons as he thinks fit of the adjourned consideration, and summon any persons to attend before him.

(5) (5.) Every judicial authority and all persons admitted to be present at the consideration of any petition for a reception order, or otherwise having official cognisance of the fact that a petition has been presented, except the alleged lunatic and the person appointed by the alleged lunatic as aforesaid, shall be bound to keep secret all matters and documents which may come to his or their knowledge by reason thereof, except when required to divulge the same by lawful authority.

S-7 Dismissal of petition.

7 Dismissal of petition.

(1)7.—(1.) If the petition is dismissed, the judicial authority shall deliver to the petitioner a statement in writing under his hand of his reasons for dismissing the same, and shall send a copy of such statement to the Commissioners and shall also, where the alleged lunatic is detained under an urgency order, send notice by post or otherwise to the person in whose charge the alleged lunatic is, that the petition has been dismissed.

(2) (2.) Any judicial authority making or refusing a reception order, shall, if so required by the Commissioners, give to them all such information as they may require as to the circumstances under which the order was made or refused.

(3) (3.) The Commissioners may communicate such information as they think proper, on the dismissal of the petition or the release of the alleged lunatic, to him or to any person who may satisfy them that he is a proper person to receive the information.

(4) (4.) If after a petition has been dismissed another petition is presented as to the same alleged lunatic, the person presenting such other petition, so far as he has any knowledge or information with regard to the previous petition and its dismissal, shall state the facts relating thereto in his petition, and shall obtain from the Commissioners at his own expense, and present with his petition, a copy the statement sent to them of the reasons for dismissing the previous petition, and, if he wilfully omits to comply with this sub-section, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

S-8 Right of lunatic to be examined by judicial authority.

8 Right of lunatic to be examined by judicial authority.

(1)8.—(1.) When a lunatic has been received as a private patient under an order of a judicial authority, without a statement in the order that the patient has been personally seen by such judicial authority, the patient shall have the right to be taken before or visited by a judicial authority, other than the judicial authority who made the order, unless the medical officer of the institution, or, in the case of a single patient, his medical attendant, within twenty-four hours after reception, in a certificate signed and sent to the Commissioners , states that the exercise of such right would be prejudicial to the patient.

(2) (2.) Where no such certificate has been signed and sent, the manager of the institution in which the patient is, or the person having charge of him as a single patient, shall, within twenty-four hours after reception, give to the patient a notice in writing of his right under this section, and shall ascertain whether he desires to exercise the right; and if he, within seven days after his reception, expresses his desire to exercise the right, such manager or person shall procure him to sign a notice of such desire, and shall forthwith transmit it by post in a prepaid registered letter to the judicial authority, who is to exercise the jurisdiction under this section, or to the justices clerk of the petty sessional division or borough, where lunatic is, to be by him transmitted to such judicial authority, and the judicial authority shall thereupon arrange, as soon as conveniently may be, either to visit the patient or to have the patient brought before him by the manager or person as the judicial authority may think fit.

(3) (3.) The judicial authority shall be entitled, if he desires so to do, to see the medical certificates and any other documents, upon the consideration of which the reception order was made, and shall after personally seeing the patient send to the Commissioners a report, and the Commissioners shall take such steps as may be necessary to give effect to the report.

(4) (4.) For the purposes of this section the jurisdiction shall be exercised by any judicial authority having authority to act in the place where the person received is, and not being the judicial authority who made the reception order; and arrangements shall for that purpose from time to time be made amongst themselves by the persons having such authority as aforesaid.

(5) (5.) If any manager of an institution for lunatics, or any person having charge of a single patient, omits to perform any duty imposed upon him by this section, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

The Judicial Authority defined.

The Judicial Authority defined.

S-9 Judicial authority defined.

9 Judicial authority defined.

(1)9.—(1.) The powers of the judicial authority under this Act shall be exercised by a justice of the peace...

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