Requesting access to information
You may wish to request access to information or records held by the Mental Health Review Tribunal (Tribunal) whether that be your own personal information or otherwise. The Tribunal supports the rights of individuals to request information held on its records either through formal applications made under either the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act) or the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) or through an informal administrative access scheme.
What records can I request?
You may make a request to the Tribunal to access or amend records containing your own personal information. You may also make a request on behalf of another person provided they have given you proper authorisation. This may be in the form of a guardianship order or an authority signed by the other person to act as their agent for the purposes of the request.
You may also request access to records held by the Tribunal that do not contain personal information.
What is personal information?
Personal information is any information about an identifiable living individual; including staff, patients and the community more broadly.
Personal information is defined in the IP Act as
“information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.”
It may include things such as a person’s:
• date of birth
• any information when combined with other information that could identify an individual
How do I request access to information?
It may be useful to contact the Tribunal in relation to your request as it may be possible for the Tribunal to release documents to you through its administrative access scheme. This process is less formal and where possible may allow the Tribunal to release documents to you more quickly. You can submit a request or a query using the online form below.
If you wish to request access to information or documents held by the Tribunal you may make a formal application under the IP Act or the RTI Act. The form can be found here.
When making a request or enquiry about access to information it may be helpful to consider the following prompts:
• Are you seeking specific documents? (is it a clinical report, a notice, a decision etc.)
• What information do the documents contain? (it might be a specific word or phrase)
• When are the documents from? (a date range can be helpful to narrow a search)
• Any other information that may help us identify the documents you are seeking.
Once you submit a request for access to information, a staff member of the Tribunal will review your request to ensure that the records you are seeking may be released. In some cases, where necessary, a staff member of the Tribunal may contact you to clarify or assist you with your application.
Once the Tribunal makes a decision on your application you will receive notice of that decision in writing.
When might access requests be refused?
There are a range of factors that the Tribunal will take into account when deciding whether to release information. These factors are outlined in the IP Act, the RTI Act and the Mental Health Act 2016.
For any request for access to information, the Tribunal may consider, among other things, that it is not in the public interest to release certain records and may therefore refuse your request either partially or in full. For example, if the Tribunal considers that releasing documents would be detrimental to the mental health or wellbeing of a person it may not be in the public interest to release those documents.
The Mental Health Act 2016 also creates strict obligations of confidentiality for certain records such as victim impact statements and documents subject to confidentiality orders. It is likely that documents such as these will not be released by the Tribunal through requests for access to information.
When you supply us with your personal information as part of providing us with feedback or lodging a request for access to information, we will use this information to assist us to address your concerns. The Tribunal may also use information for the purpose of investigating and implementing improvements to Tribunal operations and practices.
We do not disclose your personal information unless we are permitted or required by law. Please refer to our Privacy Statement for further information on how we manage information.
The Tribunal acknowledges the right to freedom of privacy and reputation set out in the Human Rights Act 2019 and manages information in line with the Mental Health Act 2016 and the Privacy Principles set out in the IP Act. Further information on how your information is managed can be found in our privacy statement here.