The enactment of the 1838 French law set an important precedent for the creation of a national framework dealing with lunacy. European countries with a continental law tradition such as Belgium, Spain, and Italy gradually adopted mental health provisions inspired by the Loi Esquirol. In the case of Spain, the 1885 Reales Decretos represented the earliest attempts to construct a comprehensive legislation for regulating all matters related to lunacy (dementes or alienados) and lunatic asylums (manicomios).
The first Decreto published on 15 May 1885 set forth the provisions for the administration of the Manicomio de Santa Isabel de Leganés. The second Decreto of 21 May 1885 regulated the admission and discharge in all Spanish institutions. From 1887, these Decretos also applied to the island of Cuba, see Real Decreto de 24 de Marzo de 1887 (Gaceta del 28).
• Real Decreto 15 Mayo 1885, Reglamento Orgánico para el régimen y gobierno interior del manicomio de Santa Isabel de Leganés