From Paranoia Querulans to Vexatious Litigants. A short study on madness between psychiatry and the Law

Benjamin Lévy; “From Paranoia Querulans to Vexatious Litigants. A short study on madness between psychiatry and the Law“:

“This paper presents a comparative history of paranoia querulans, also known as litigants’ delusion, in German‐speaking countries and France from the nineteenth century onwards. We first focus on two classic literary works which describe litigious behaviours later pathologised, then give insight into the history of Querulantenwahn (litigants’ delusion), a term coined in 1857 by Johann Ludwig Casper and adopted by German‐speaking psychiatrists and forensic experts. The last section is devoted to its French equivalent, the delusion of the litigious persecuted‐persecutors. We show how this category, widely popular among French fin‐de‐ siecle alienists, was replaced by another: the delusion of revendication (litigious subtype). The history of the vexatious litigants in the English‐speaking world will be explored in the second part of this paper.”

Part One:

“The second part of this paper examines the history of querulous paranoia and vexatious litigation in the English‐speaking countries from the nineteenth century to today: this article suggests that the lack of deep‐reaching research on querulous paranoia in these countries is due to a broad cultural, legal and medical context which have caused unreasonable complainants to be considered a purely legal, rather than a medical issue. To support this hypothesis, we analyse how legal steps have been taken throughout the English‐speaking world since 1896 to keep the unreasonable complainants at bay and present reasons why medical measures have scarcely been adopted. However, we also submit evidence that this division of responsibilities between the judges and the psychiatrists has taken a new turn since the dawn of the twenty‐first century.”

Part Two: