The Mental Health Tribunal
The Mental Health Tribunal (England) is an independent body. It is supported by an administration team (external link) who are part of His Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). The Mental Health Tribunal and administration team (or Tribunal office) work together but they do very different jobs. It is the role of the Mental Health Tribunal to decide cases. The administration team carry out duties regarding the processing of materials relating to Mental Health Tribunal hearings.
The Mental Health Tribunal’s role is to hear applications and references for people who have had their liberty restricted under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended) (external link). These include patients who are detained in a hospital as well as those who are living in the community but subject to legal restrictions under the Mental Health Act. The Tribunal has power to discharge patients. In some circumstances it can make legal recommendations ‘to facilitate discharge’. The powers of the Tribunal vary according to what section of the Mental Health Act the patient is under. This includes whether the patient is a restricted patient (external link) (subject to the Mental Health Act because of a court order/transferred from prison) or unrestricted patient (external link) (subject to the Mental Health Act but not because of a court order or transferred from prison).
What to expect at a Mental Health hearing
The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in conjunction with HMCTS have produced a video on the user-experience for a typical mental health tribunal which can be viewed online.