The new Act has received a warm welcome throughout the country. One reason for this is the change in public attitude. Mental disorder is much more reasonably tolerated than was the case 50 years ago and this has made many old restrictions unnecessary and undesirable. The new Act makes it possible to stop enforcing them and makes legal procedure less complex and cumbersome. It shows a hopeful confidence in doctors, administrators and in an enlightened public. In this article an attempt has been made to describe some of the Act's more important features and the discussion which they have raised.