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The New Mental Health Act: An Easy Read Guide

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08 The Mental Health Tribunal

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  • What is the Mental Health Tribunal?
  • What does the Tribunal do?
  • How do I contact the Tribunal?
  • What happens if I have a Tribunal hearing?
  • before the hearing?
  • at the hearing?
  • after the hearing?
  • What if I disagree with the Tribunal?

What is the Mental Health Tribunal?

The Tribunal is an independent organisation set up by the new law. It decides what to do if you need compulsory treatment order. This means you have treatment even if you do not want it.

The Tribunal has a President and 300 members around Scotland.

There are 3 kinds of members:

  • lawyers
  • doctors
  • others like nurses or social workers who know about mental disorder.

If you have a Tribunal meeting there will be a group of 3 people - 1 from each of these groups. This group is called the tribunal panel. The person who chairs the tribunal is called the convenor.

A Tribunal meeting is often called a 'hearing'. The Tribunal must hear and read all the information about you and your case. They then decide what to do about your care and treatment.

Compulsory treatment order means you have treatment even if you do not want it.

What does the Tribunal do?

The Tribunal decides about your treatment if you need to have compulsory treatment. For example:

If you need a compulsory treatment order

  • If your mental health officer thinks that you need a compulsory treatment order he/she must ask the Tribunal to decide.

If you have a compulsory treatment order

  • Your doctor can ask the Tribunal to change your care and treatment.
  • You, your named person or the Mental Welfare Commission can ask the Tribunal to review your case. Review means they think about all the information again and decide if you still need the order. The Tribunal must review your case once every Time Logo 2 years.

Colm has a compulsory treatment order. He thinks he is now much better. He wants to ask the Tribunal to review his case. His named person, Sheila, helps him to do this.

Named person: someone you choose to look out for you if you have to have treatment. They help to make decisions about your care and treatment.

Mental Welfare Commission: the organisation that looks after those who need help because of a mental disorder. They make sure all treatment follows the law. You can speak to them at any time if you are unhappy about your care and treatment.

If you have a short-term detention certificate

A short-term detention certificate means you can be held in hospital to get care and treatment. This lasts for 28 days.

  • You can appeal to the Tribunal against this.

If you are being held more securely than you think is needed

  • You can ask the Tribunal to review your case.

If you are involved with the police or courts and having treatment in hospital

  • Your doctor might ask the Tribunal for changes to your care and treatment.
  • You and/or your named person can ask the Tribunal to review your case.

Appeal means you ask the court or the Tribunal to change their decision.

How do I contact the Tribunal?

You can write or phone the Tribunal office. You can ask your named person, independent advocate or solicitor to help you to do this.

Colm writes to the Tribunal office. He tells them his name, his doctor's name and his hospital. Sheila helps him with the letter.

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Service user and carer freephone: 0800 345 70 60Telephone Logo
Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland Postal Address Logo
1st Floor Bothwell House
Hamilton Business Park, Caird Park
HAMILTON ML3 0QA
telephone: 01698 390 000
website: www.mhtscot.gov.uk

What happens before the hearing?

Before the hearing, workers at the Tribunal office send Colm all the information he needs.

  • The time
  • The place
  • How to get there
  • How to claim travel and other expenses
  • Who will be there on the day
  • What will happen at the hearing

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Who goes to the Tribunal hearing?

  • You
  • Those who care for you and support you. This may be your:
  • named person
  • guardian
  • welfare attorney
  • carer
  • independent advocate
  • solicitor
  • The 3 Tribunal members
  • Those responsible for your care and treatment:
  • nurse
  • mental health officer
  • doctor ( GP)
  • doctor ( RMO)

If you ask a solicitor to help you at the hearing you should be able to get legal aid. Legal aid is money to help you pay a solicitor. Your solicitor can help you to do this.

Independent advocate. Someone who helps you say what you think about your treatment. They are called "independent" because they are not tied to other services.

What happens at the hearing?

When Colm and Sheila arrive at the hearing, the clerk shows them where everything is. The convenor explains the rules about the hearing and what will happen.

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The panel reads all the information about the case. This includes reports from Colm's doctor and his mental health officer. They listen to Colm and everyone else.

They try to decide what to do on the day of the hearing. If they cannot decide, the hearing carries on at a later date.

Sometimes they make an order for you to get the care and treatment you need until a final decision is made.

What happens after the hearing?

The Tribunal may tell you their decision at the end of the hearing or they may write to you after the hearing.

The Tribunal tells everyone who needs to know about their decision. This may be:

  • your doctor
  • your mental health officer
  • the Mental Welfare Commission
  • the court (if your case has come to the Tribunal from the court).

The Tribunal writes to Colm after the hearing. They tell him that he must stay on his compulsory treatment order. They give him information about how to appeal.

What If I disagree with the decision?

You may be able to appeal to the court. Appeal means you ask them to think again about the Tribunal's decision. The Tribunal should give you information about how to make an appeal.

Do you always have a hearing?

If you and those responsible for your care and treatment agree the Tribunal can decide without a hearing. If you do not agree the Tribunal must have a hearing.