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The zone of parental control: a reasonable idea or an unusable concept?

John Watts (Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist based at The Kent and Medway Adolescent Unit, Staplehurst, UK)
Robin Mackenzie (Director of Medical Law and Ethics, The Law School, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 11 January 2013




The Zone of Parental Control (ZPC) is a concept that has been introduced in the Code of Practice for the revised Mental Health Act 1983, but guidance on its scope remains scanty. The purpose of this paper is to bring together recent rulings from case law and the original guidance, and make suggestions for clinicians when deciding if an intervention is within the Zone.


Review and examination of case law, legislation and legal guidance.


Deprivations of liberty fall outside the ZPC, but restrictions of liberty lie within; parental disagreement with care correlates strongly with care that lies outside the ZPC.


The findings of this article should aid clinicians in deciding whether a treatment regime lies within the ZPC.



Watts, J. and Mackenzie, R. (2013), "The zone of parental control: a reasonable idea or an unusable concept?", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 38-44.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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