Patient privacy and confidentiality is very important to the Mental Health Review Tribunal. The Tribunal strives to protect any personal information it receives at a hearing or that it holds as part of a record.
Patients are sometimes reluctant to attend a Tribunal hearing or to provide information to the Tribunal for fear that this information may be disclosed to other people. Section 779 of the Mental Health Act 2016 imposes a strict duty of confidentiality upon Tribunal members and Tribunal hearings are closed to the public. Tribunal employees and other stakeholderes may only use or disclose personal information to perform functions under the Act. Section 790 prohibits publication of reports of Tribunal proceedings that identifies people involved.
Tribunal hearings are held in private at Authorised Mental Health Services. On rare occasions an observer may attend a hearing to observe the Tribunal but this only happens when the patient gives their consent to the observer to be in the room.
Tribunal hearings are not recorded electronically. Sometimes the Tribunal may use video or teleconferencing to hold a hearing when a patient is located in a remote area or when there isn’t enough time or resources to have an in-person hearing. No tapes or electronic records are kept when hearings are held by videoconference or teleconference.
Right to Information
A person has a right to access their own personal information that is held by government organisations. Under the Mental Health Act 2016, patients have a right to notice of hearings, decisions of the Tribunal made about them and access to clinical reports written about them. These documents are kept on file at the Tribunal and patients may access these documents by way of administrative access. Please see our Administrative Access policy.
If you wish to access your own personal records held by the Tribunal, your request must be in writing and it must be accompanied by proof of your identity and your current address. Proof of your identity is a certified copy of your driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate. A certified copy is one that is verified as a true copy of the original by a Justice of the Peace. If you have any questions about accessing your own personal records, please contact the Legal Officer of the Tribunal on 1800 00 6478 or 3235 9059.