This thesis is concerned with determining whether South African mental health law and its application in practice is in need of reform. In order to reach its objectives, the thesis measures mental health legislation and criminal law that affect the mentally ill individual or offender against international and local human rights standards, and generally accepted principles and scientific principles applicable in the mental health profession. Particular focus is placed on the admission of a mentally ill person as a voluntary, assisted or involuntary mental health care user, State Patient or mentally disordered prisoner in terms of the Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002 (?MHCA?), as well a critical review of the MHCA forms used to translate the Act?s provisions into practice. The thesis critically discusses the regulation of mental health care practitioners in terms of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974, including psychology and psychiatry and the expert witness, and the new Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2007 and its regulations. An outline of the role of the National Health Act 61 of 2003 in the administration of the health system is provided.The thesis analyses the manners in which mental health affects criminal liability, and Chapter 13 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977. Finally a desktop study into the current state of mental health care provision and the implementation of legislation in practice is conducted, followed by conclusions and recommendations for reform to legislation, policy, and the MHCA forms where anomalies have been identified.