In 1996 a legal & ethical study group was constituted with a brief to develop legal and ethical policies and guidelines around the use of the MHIS system. Initial work of the group included extensive literature searches, communications with a large body of health professionals, governmental agencies and contact with European specialist groups.
These enquiries produced very little in terms of material specific to the mentally ill and in particular to ethical considerations and rights of this group. Work available, in particular from the UK and USA, tended to be technically based, concerning itself primarily with issues of security. The study group then commenced to formulate its own work by drawing principally on the first principles of data protection, professional practice and client rights.
In 1997 it hosted an international conference titled "Towards an Ethical Protocol for Mental Health Informatics" and in 2000 published a book titled "Electronic Records Ethical Guidance" which was a culmination of the group's work and now serves as the first point of reference for Legal & Ethical guidelines.