MHP209 Mental Health, Law and Ethics (8)

This subject will address legal and ethical issues pertaining to the management of people who have a mental illness or a mental health disorder. Mental health professionals are accountable for their day to day work, to the consumer and to the community. There is an expectation to practice within a standard of care framework when practicing as a mental health professional. Ethical issues surrounding mental health care and treatment will be examined including the principles of autonomy, coercion, beneficence, non- maleficence and justice. Legal issues such as negligence, managing information and the Privacy Act, the Crimes Act, the Inebriates Act, the Guardianship Act, the Public Health Act, Occupational Health and Safety legislation, the NT National Emergency Response Act and mandatory reporting will be explored. Most importantly, reference to the Mental Health Act/s (as they pertain to each State and Territory) will be examined as to how it governs daily practice within mental health services.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: MHP209. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Enrolment Restrictions

Restricted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Restricted to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health).

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain the way the legal system in Australia was established, its function and its relationship with mental health workers;
  • be able to discuss the legal, ethical and potential cultural issues that may arise in mental health practice;
  • be able to explain how laws, policies and guidelines influence the practice of mental health professionals and impact on clients;
  • be able to distinguish between legal and professional responsibility and code of conduct, and explain the relationship between them;
  • be able to discuss and describe duty of care and standard of care alongside negligence and legal liability;
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of managing information and confidentiality in oral, print and digital forms;
  • be able to define informed consent, mandatory reporting, and freedom of information; and
  • be able to identify the steps in ethical decision-making.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Module 1: The Australian legal system;
  • Module 2: Consent;
  • Module 3: The Tort of negligence;
  • Module 4: Vicarious liability and employment law;
  • Module 5: Confidentiality;
  • Module 6: Ethical theory and principles;
  • Module 7: The dying patient;
  • Module 8: Child protection and mandatory reporting;
  • Module 9: The mental health patient;
  • Module 10: Record keeping;
  • Module 11: Indigenous issues;
  • Module 12: Human rights; and
  • Module 13: Professional responsibilities.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of MHP209 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Scholarly paper
Case study analysis
Student attendance (online)

Residential School

This subject contains a 2.9 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school is compulsory as it forms a significant component of the teaching strategy in this subject. Further details about the residential school will be provided by your Subject Coordinator. Students will attend a total of 20 days at residential schools throughout the year for this subject and other subjects in the course.

Students undertaking subjects within the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health)  Djirruwang Program may be eligible for federal government funding  to attend the compulsory residential schools. This funding is set at 20 days across two academic sessions which meets the requirements for support from Indigenous Student Services.

Special Resources

Students will be required to attend compulsory residential schools throughout the year for this subject and other subjects throughout the course.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.