Juan Jose Tellez

PhD Candidate

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Juan Jose Tellez is a PhD Candidate at the Melbourne Law School and Melbourne Social Equity Institute. Juan’s academic research career over the last four years has been primarily focused on compulsory treatment in health settings. He is particularly interested in the intersection between policy, legislation, and clinical treatment, and how it influences health and wellbeing. His doctoral thesis investigates the ways in which 'the problem' of chemical restraint is presented in human rights informed laws and policy in comparison to practice. In addition to his doctoral studies, Juan is based at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute as a Research Assistant.

Juan holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Complementary Medicine) from Charles Sturt University, Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (Distinction) from the University of Auckland, and a Master of Public Health (First Class Honours) also from the University of Auckland. Prior to joining the Melbourne Law School, Juan specialised in Mental Health research and worked as a Research Assistant and Research Officer at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute on the Seclusion and Restraint Project commissioned by the National Mental Health Commission, and as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Auckland.

Thesis Title

Mending the Patchwork: Human Rights and the Regulation of Chemical Restraint in Australian Health Settings

Thesis Summary

The United Nations has recommended Australia take immediate steps to end the practices of seclusion and restraint. Chemical restraint refers to the use of medication primarily to control behaviour and minimise risk of harm, rather than to treat a medical or psychiatric condition. This thesis will investigate the ways in which ‘the problem’ of chemical restraint is presented in human rights informed laws and policy in comparison to practice. It will use the ‘What’s the Problem Represented to Be?’ approach to highlight gaps between regulation and practice, and argue that acknowledging different problem representations may lead to bridging those gaps.


  • Human Rights Law