Home > Different Courtrooms > Information About Mental Health Tribunals

Information About Mental Health Tribunals

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 11 Sep 2012 |
 
Mental Health Act Tribunal Court

Mental Health Tribunals are judicial bodies that are independent of government. Their function is to determine the cases of mental health patients who have been detained under the Mental Health Act and decide whether or not they should be discharged from hospital. Mental Health Tribunals are normally heard in private, and therefore there are no members of the press or media at the hearings. They usually take place either in the hospital where the patient is detained, or community unit, if applicable.

A mental health tribunal will hear cases in which:

  • a patient is appealing against their initial detention under section 2 of the Mental Health Act (within 14 days of the detention)
  • a patient who is detained under section 3 of the Mental Health Act can appeal to the tribunal once every six months
  • a patient detained under section 37 of the Mental Health Act can appeal at the end of the first six months of the detention. Thereafter they have the same rights of appeal as a person detained under section 3 (see above.)

What Does The Tribunal Do?

The MHA Tribunal’s role is to decide whether or not to discharge a patient detained under the Mental Health Act. They may order the discharge immediately or after a short period of further detention. Other powers include the ability to recommend leave of absence, supervised community treatment, or for the patient to be transferred to another hospital. Although the tribunal’s powers are called ‘recommendations’ they have the ability to reconvene and reconsider a patient’s case if there is a failure to comply with the recommendations the tribunal makes.

Who Makes Up The Tribunal?

The tribunal is made up of three members. One of these people is a judge, who chairs the proceedings. One of the other two members is a medical specialist. The patient is also present at the hearing, as is their hospital doctor, a social worker, and the patient’s legal representative, if they have one. If the patient or their lawyer has provided details of the patient’s next of kin, they are also invited to attend. Patients are normally expected to attend their own hearings. If they do not, the tribunal will expect to be told reasons for this. Patients must decide not to attend of their own free will, but if they do not attend the case may proceed without them.

At the hearing, the tribunal will hear and read evidence relating to the patient’s mental, physical and other circumstances. The patient has a right to see copies of the documentation that the tribunal will see as evidence. The patient’s doctor will also explain what the hospital and the patient’s doctor intends to say to the mental health tribunal in advance of the hearing. The hearing is informal, and the patient’s lawyer will be smartly dressed but not in a wig or gown. Most lawyers who attend mental health tribunals are solicitors rather than barristers.

The Decision

The tribunal will normally decide what to do at the end of the hearing and will communicate this to the patient and their representative at the time. Reasons are not usually provided at this stage, but are reduced to writing and send to the patient and their legal representative a few days afterwards.

Appeals

It is possible to appeal against the decision of a mental health tribunal if certain criteria are satisfied. These are contained within Part 5 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • susie sunshine
    Re: Pre-Sentence Reports
    I was recently in court and the guy was charged with sexual assault and harassment, he went innocent ,but sadly lost it under cross…
    24 May 2024
  • Sprogs
    Re: What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?
    What happens if you don't turn up for a court hearing.. On the 10/04/2024 I attended a court hearing at…
    11 April 2024
  • Shem
    Re: Probation and Community Sentencing
    I've been asking to move office for the last 3 months. My probation office has refused to move me.ive served 2 years on…
    21 March 2024
  • P1P
    Re: Information About Parole Board Hearings
    My son had his parole hearing on 22nd Feb2024, he was granted release, he was told he would be released after a…
    6 March 2024
  • Loger
    Re: Probation and Community Sentencing
    I finished my order in January I am up for breach in April now my order is finished do I have to still attend probation…
    5 March 2024
  • social-issues
    Re: Pre-Sentence Reports
    Hello hk, I can't see what the problem is, unless the subject is planning to be unavailable. If what you are saying is that the Probation…
    28 February 2024
  • Paul778883
    Re: Failure to Attend Jury Service
    I would just ignore the letter. Bin it then if if it does hit the fan just say you never knew. Even then if they call me in I…
    21 February 2024
  • Kim
    Re: Make a Claim in the Small Claims Court
    Elderly parents got a builders quote for works. Agree to price, builder said half up front in cash for materials,…
    15 February 2024
  • Tonks
    Re: What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?
    My partner is in court in Birmingham Crown in June CPS have ordered me to court on this date I've with drawn…
    10 February 2024
  • Jasica
    Re: Handling a Divorce
    Hello I need all kinds of help. But I don't know English so I am going through difficult times. Because I am very weak physically and…
    5 February 2024