Professional, specialist legal advice for Mental Health tribunals
Being detained in hospital due to mental health reasons can be a difficult and daunting time. However, our experienced mental health lawyers will ensure that you have the best level of representation possible.
Get in Touch
What is The Mental Health Tribunal?
If you have been detained in hospital due to a mental health problem and disagree with the decision, you can apply to the Mental Health Tribunal. This is a hearing to determine the best action to take. Medical professionals at the hospital and staff in the Mental Health Office should inform you about your rights to the Tribunal.
There are rules about when you can apply to the Tribunal. Generally, it depends on under what section you were detained and for how long. Our team can explain how the rules apply to you and tell you whether you can apply. The Tribunal will autocratically reassess cases that have not been reviewed for some time.
Why Should I Use a Solicitor?
It is possible to represent yourself, provided that your doctor agrees that you have the capacity to do so. However, a mental health lawyer will be able to present your case to the tribunal in the most effective way. They will also understand all the issues that may be raised and the ins and outs.
The legal representation you are entitled to by law is also funded by legal aid. This means that you do not have to pay for one of our solicitors and your representation is free.
What Happens at a Mental Health Tribunal Hearing?
Before a Tribunal hearing, the patient has to be examined by the Tribunal’s doctor who will prepare a report. Solicitors sometimes ask for an independent psychiatrist’s report also.
During a hearing there are three people on the panel, a judge, a tribunal doctor and a mental health expert. The hospital staff that are working with you, your legal representative. and any experts or witnesses will also be present. If you decide you would like to attend the hearing and your lawyer advises that you do, you can bring a family member with you.
The hospital staff (which will include your doctor, nurse and social worker) will provide evidence for the Tribunal. You and your solicitor can then question the evidence if you need to. Your solicitor will advise you on how best to ask your questions. If your solicitor has arranged for any experts or witnesses to attend the hearing, they will then provide their evidence, and you can provide your own evidence should you so wish.
After the Tribunal has heard all of the evidence a decision will then be made on what the best course of action is.
What Happens if I Lose My Case?
There is the possibility that the Tribunal will not agree that you should be discharged from hospital. When this happens, it is best to take legal advice and another reason why it is recommended that you use a solicitor. It is possible to ask the Tribunal to look at the decision again. This is an option if there was a problem with the handling of your case, for example if you or your representative were not at the hearing, or if you did not receive important documents about your case. In some situations, the Mental Health Tribunal will reconsider the case.
If there was a legal problem with your case, you can ask for permission to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal. A mental health solicitor can advise you on this. If you apply for permission to appeal, your case will be looked at by another Judge, who will decide whether there were any legal mistakes, and whether your case should be heard again.
How can Switalskis help me?
Our team includes lawyers who are members of the Law Society’s Mental Health Tribunal Panel. This means their expertise in mental health law has been assessed and accredited by independent experts. They are authorised to advise and represent people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 before the Mental Health Tribunal.
Contact us now on 0800 1380 458 to talk to a mental health solicitor, or send us a message through our website.