Verdict: No compulsory psychiatric assessment in your own home

Federal Constitutional Court emphasizes the inviolability of the apartment
Mentally ill people do not have to tolerate the assessment for possible placement in a psychiatric facility in their own home. A corresponding court order violates the fundamental right to the inviolability of the apartment, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe decided in a decision published on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 (file number: 2 BvR 253/18).

In the specific case, it was a question of a possibly required accommodation of a mentally ill woman. The Soltau District Court had ordered an expert for this and at the same time ordered that he should question and examine the woman in her own apartment. If the mentally ill refuse, the apartment may also be entered by force.

The nurse, who was also appointed in the placement procedure and who exercised the rights of women, considered this procedure to be unlawful. She applied to the Federal Constitutional Court for an interim order to overturn the district court's decision.

In his decision of March 16, 2018, the constitutional judges now approved the nurse. Because if the examination of the woman against her will takes place in her own apartment, the fundamental right to inviolability of the apartment will be violated. Everyone has the right to be left alone, especially in their living rooms.

The trial nurse was also allowed to lodge a constitutional complaint. In principle, this is only possible if “own rights in one's own name are affected”. In the placement procedure, however, the nurse may exceptionally also lodge a constitutional complaint with “imminent coercive measures”.

Here the district court misjudged the fundamental right to the inviolability of the apartment, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled. For the public authorities this goes hand in hand with a fundamental ban on entering the home. This measure is only permissible if a "common danger or a danger to life for individuals" is to be warded off by entering the apartment. But there was no such danger here.

According to the law, a court may order the demonstration of a mentally ill person against his will. The apartment may then also be entered, but only to bring the person concerned to the examination. However, the Federal Constitutional Court emphasized that there is no legal basis for being heard and examined against his will in his own apartment. fle

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