Ian Morrison (Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh), Renata Riha (Honorary Reader, University of Edinburgh) and John Rumbold (PhD candidate, Centre for Centre for Law, Ethics and Society, Keele University) are looking to form a group to help formulate guidelines and steer further research into forensic sleep disorders. This is a natural progression of work they have done individually and collectively in this area, including a review article recently published in Sleep Medicine Reviews (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2013.07.004) and John’s thesis which will be submitted in the near future on the provision of expert evidence about parasomnias in criminal trials. The intention is to formulate general guidelines on the medico-legal assessment of parasomnias and criminal responsibility, with comments about the application of the law as it stands in England & Wales and Scotland. Also they would examine the possible effects of the current Law Commission proposals for reform of the law on insanity and automatism. The need has been identified by consultation with expert witnesses, and the identification of the most problematic areas will help guide the direction of further research. They are looking for partners to take this project forward who have an interest in mental capacity and criminal responsibility.
Ian is presenting an MI Lunch on 9th April 2014 – “Non-insane automatisms – A perspective from sleep” – more details to follow with the launch of our 2014 programme.