Adjunct Associate Professor Kate Diesfeld

BA Colgate USA JD University of San Diego

Kate Diesfeld

Kate Diesfeld was a Court Investigator for the Probate Court for the State of Alaska before obtaining her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego. At Protection and Advocacy, Inc. in Los Angeles, she represented people with developmental disabilities as a staff attorney. She was a legal academic and the Legal Supervisor of the Kent Law Clinic (Mental Health and Learning Disability) at Kent Law School in Canterbury, England. Also, she represented patients before the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

In New Zealand, she was Director of the National Centre for Health Law and Ethics at AUT University. With Philip Patston, she co-chaired Auckland Disability Law, a community law centre devoted to people with disabilities. Her role at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law is Adjunct Professor. Her research interests include disability and medical law, legal education for non-lawyers and professional regulation.

Kate is the legal member of the Waikato Clinical Ethics Advisory Committee and Associate Professor at AUT University’s Faculty of Health.

Recent Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Diesfeld, K. "Analysis of legal cases for prevention of elder abuse: Decisions from New Zealand", Journal of Law and Medicine, 2011.

O'Brien, A.J., McKenna, B.G., Thom, K., Diesfeld, K. , Simpson, AI.F. "Use of Tasers on people with mental illness: A New Zealand database study", International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 2011.

Diesfeld, K. "Professional discipline: Analysis of New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal Decisions", Waikato Journal of Education, 2010.

Diesfeld, K. Diesfeld, K, Godbold, R. "Legal rehabilitation of health professionals in New Zealand", International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 2010.

Diesfeld, K., Godbold, R. "Disciplinary developments in New Zealand", International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 2009.

Diesfeld, K. "Interpersonal issues between pain physician and patient: Strategies to reduce conflict", Pain Medicine, 2008.

Diesfeld, K., McKenna, B. "The unintended impact of therapeutic intentions of the New Zealand Mental Health Review Tribunal? Therapeutic jurisprudence perspectives", Journal of Law and Medicine, 2007.

Diesfeld, K., Sjostrom, S. "Interpretive flexibility: Why doesn't insight incite controversy in mental health law?", Behavioral Science and the Law, 2007.

Diesfeld, K, McKenna, B. "The therapeutic intent of the New Zealand Mental Health Review Tribunal", Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 2006.

Diesfeld, K. (in press 2013) Implicit factors for compulsion. In J. Dawson and K. Gledhill (Eds) New Zealand’s Mental Health Act in Practice. Wellington: Victoria University Press.

Diesfeld, K. (in press) The expected, and unexpected, issues raised by New Zealand’s Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003. In B. McSherry and I. Freckelton (Eds) Coercive Care: Law and Policy. Melbourne: Routledge Taylor & Francis.

Diesfeld, K. (2012) Paramedic practice in New Zealand: Legal issues and current debates in New Zealand. In R. Townsend and M. Luck (Eds) Applied Paramedic Law and Ethics. Elsevier, Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier. Ch. 14, 312-330.

Diesfeld, K. (2012) Written communication for health and disability providers: Legal implications. In S. Shaw, A. Haxell, T. Weblemoe (Eds) Communication Across the Lifespan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ch. 22, 258-268.


Diesfeld, K. and Freckelton, I. (Eds) 2003. Involuntary Detention and Therapeutic Jurisprudence: International Perspectives on Civil Commitment. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Book Chapters

Phillips, M., Chen, H., Diesfeld, K., Xie, B., Cheng, H., Mellsop, G., Liu, X. (in press) China’s new mental health law: reframing involuntary treatment. American Journal of Psychiatry.

Diesfeld, K. and Mellsop, G. (2012) Mental Health Law of the People’s Republic of China: Inviting Dialogue, Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry, 24(6), 360-361. (invited)

Diesfeld, K. (2012) Apology in the New Zealand mental health context: An enigmatic juxtaposition? Waikato Law Review Taumauri, Vol. 20, 50-66.

Prebble, K., Diesfeld, K., Frey, R., Sutton, D., Honey, M., Vickery, R. , McKenna, B., (12 July 2012) ‘The Care Manager’s dilemma: Balancing human rights with risk management for intellectually disabled offenders under the IDCCRA (2003)’. Disability and Society, 2(1). (21 pgs) 10.1080/09687599.2012.695527

Mellsop, G. and Diesfeld, K (2012) ‘Service availability, compulsion and compulsory hospitalization’. Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry, 24(1), 44-45 (Invited).

Culy, R., Reid, D., Diesfeld, K. (2011) ‘Cervical spine manipulation, a procedure with rare but potentially serious adverse reactions: Exploring the ethical dimensions’. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, Vol. 39, No. 3, 114-121.

Mellsop, G,. and Diesfeld, K. (2011) Psychiatric diagnosis in legal systems: An issue of validity, Medicine and Law, Vol. 30, 517-527.

Diesfeld, K, Hancock, J. "New Zealand", The Legal Rights of Students with Disabilities, 2011.

Diesfeld, K, Freckelton, Ian. "Mental health law and therapeutic jurisprudence", Disputes and Dilemmas in Health Law, 2006.

Research Grants

Mirfin-Veatch, Diesfeld, K., Henaghan, M. "People with Intellectual Disability in the New Zealand Legal System: A Consultation Project". New Zealand Law Foundation, 2011.

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Contact Details

Email: [email protected]