Criminal Lunatics (Ireland) Act 1838

The Criminal Lunatics (Ireland) Act 1838 (1 & 2 Vict. c. 27) was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, signed into law on 11 June 1838. It was one of the Lunacy (Ireland) Acts 1821 to 1890.[1]


The Act provided that when a person was detained under circumstances suggesting that they were of deranged mind and had the intention of committing a crime, then two justices were empowered to call in a physician to examine the suspect. If the physician determined that the person was a "dangerous lunatic" he could be committed to gaol, until either discharged by order of two justices or removed to a lunatic asylum by order of the Lord Lieutenant.[2]

Role of Lord LieutenantEdit

The Lord Lieutenant was given the power to direct persons under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation be placed in a lunatic asylum, to remain there until certified of sound mind by two physicians, when the Lord Lieutenant could direct their removal. Additionally, he was given a similar power in regard to persons committed for trial.[2]

See alsoEdit




  1. ^ The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and Schedule 2
  2. ^ a b Kelly, Brendan. "The Mental Treatment Act 1945 in Ireland: an historical enquiry". History of Psychiatry. p. 51. doi:10.1177/0957154X06075949.