This is Tony Zigmond’s valedictory edition of this popular guide, now in its fourth incarnation. It will be taken forward by joint-author Nick Brindle. I am pleased to say that Dr Brindle has the same no-nonsense style as Dr Zigmond. This is, as the name suggests, no academic tome, but a practical guide for use in clinical situations.

It is written for medics but it would be useful for lawyers practising in mental health and mental capacity law.

The book is written in a direct and uncluttered style and the authors are not afraid to provide opinions on how to approach medico-legal issues. For example, in the chapter dealing with giving evidence before the tribunal, they provide guidance on how to do so while minimising the risk to the therapeutic relationship between doctor and patient. They also remind clinicians of the need to understand the role of the legal representative and their role in the whole process – and not to get frustrated when challenged on the criteria for detention.

Authors: Tony Zigmond, Nick Brindle

£18, RCPsych Publications

The authors tackle the complex legal position concerning treatment under the Mental Health Act in a way which maximises the chances of the reader understanding part IV. They then go on to break down the range of medico-legal scenarios in relation to treatment into ‘five different treatment groups’, which is extremely helpful.

Michael Kennedy is head of the mental health and court of protection departments
 at Switalskis Solicitors, York