Mental Health Review Tribunal
The Mental Health Review Tribunal is an independent statutory body, first established under the Mental Health Act 2000 (MHA2000) to review the involuntary status of persons with mental illness.
Patients with an involuntary status are considered to be unable to make decisions about their care and treatment due to their illness, and may be a risk to themselves or others.
The Tribunal consists of a president and approximately 80 members, including lawyers, psychiatrists and other people with relevant qualifications or experience in mental health.
Tribunal hearing panel
A Mental Health Review Tribunal panel usually has three (3) or more members to review applications—a psychiatrist, a lawyer, and a community representative—so no one person makes a decision about a person receiving involuntary care and treatment.
The panel may also receive additional information from a patient or carer, clinical care team or independent expert/s. All this information is considered when decisions are made.
The intent of this mix of qualifications and experience is to ensure there is a balanced review of each person’s rights and liberties, and whether tests under the Mental Health Act were met concerning the patients involuntary treatment.
Clinical decisions about a person’s medications and treatment are always decided by a treating team, independent of the Tribunal.
Invalid former Tribunal member
Recently, the Mental Health Review Tribunal identified that a former panel member, who was appointed as a legal member, held a law degree, but was never admitted to practice law and was therefore not fully qualified to serve in that role under the Mental Health Act 2000.
The former member served from 2002 and was stood down by the Tribunal President in August 2016 when he identified this issue. A recent reappointment process for all Tribunal members has ensured the validity of their current credentials under the Mental Health Act 2000 and subsequently under the Mental Health Act 2016.
While there is no indication that anyone has received inappropriate decisions affecting their mental health care, the Tribunal want to ensure that no-one has been adversely affected by the appointment of an ineligible member to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal and Queensland Health are currently identifying and contacting patients involved with a panel that included the ineligible member. To ensure patient confidentiality, contact with potentially affected patients will be made by the Tribunal or a Queensland Health Mental Health Service provider.
Process of review
Amendments to the new Mental Health Act 2016 were passed on 28 February 2017 so potentially affected persons can request a review of previous Tribunal panel decisions that included the former member.
The amendments also ensure the legal validity of past decisions made by clinicians and other professionals involved in providing care to persons who were involuntary patients.
The review process will be open in April 2017 and more information about how to apply for a review will be available soon.
Please check this page for future updates.
Mental health information, advice and support
For 24-hour specialist mental health advice, information and support for mental health patients, carers and families, and the community, call 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 22 55).
Victim Support Service
To speak to someone free call 1800 208 005 during business hours or email email@example.com
The Queensland Health Victim Support service is a free statewide service that provides specialized counseling, support and information to victims of crime when the offender has been assessed as having a mental illness or intellectual disability.