Information about /
The Mental Health Court

The Mental Health Court was established under the Mental Health Act 2000 and continued under the Mental Health Act 2016, and has been operating since 28 February 2002. The Court is a separate entity to the Tribunal, with each having its own roles and jurisdictions.

The Mental Health Court’s jurisdiction primarily relates to ‘serious offences’. A serious offence is an indictable offence, other than offences that must be heard by a Magistrate. Serious offences include arson, grievous bodily harm, indecent treatment, robbery, rape, serious assault and manslaughter, but do not include offences such as common assault and most forms of wilful damage.

The Mental Health Court decides whether a person charged with a criminal offence was of unsound mind at the time of the offence or whether the person is not fit for trial. A person may be found not fit for trial either permanently or not permanently.

Where a person is found of unsound mind or unfit for trial, the Mental Health Court may make a forensic order or treatment support order requiring involuntary treatment for the patient.

The Mental Health Court is constituted by a Supreme Court Judge who may seek advice from two assisting psychiatrists.

The following diagram shows the options available to the Mental Health Court in making a decision in respect of a reference of a person’s mental condition and the consequential steps for review of the order by the MHRT and the associated criminal proceedings.

The blue boxes show the role of the MHRT in terms of review of the forensic order and review of the person’s fitness for trial.

 

diagram 1

The Mental Health Court informs the Tribunal of decisions made that involve the making of forensic orders or treatment support orders. The Tribunal is then responsible for the review of those orders in accordance with statutory timeframes.

The Mental Health Act 2016 provides for appeals to the Mental Health Court of certain decisions of the Tribunal as set out in Schedule 2. The table from Schedule 2 is reproduced below.

Decision Appellant
A decision of the MHRT on a review of a treatment authority under Chapter 12, Part 2
  1. the person subject to the authority
  2. an interested person for the person in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the Chief Psychiatrist
A decision of the MHRT on a review of a forensic order (mental health) or forensic order (disability) under Chapter 12, Part 3
  1. the person subject to the order
  2. an interested person for the person in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the Attorney-General
  4. if an AMHS is responsible for the person, the Chief Psychiatrist
  5. if the FDS is responsible for the person, the Director of Forensic Disability
A decision of the MHRT on a review of a forensic order (Criminal Code) under Chapter 12, Part 4
  1. the person subject to the order
  2. an interested person for the person in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the Chief Psychiatrist
  4. the Attorney-General
A decision of the MHRT on a review of a treatment support order under Chapter 12, Part 5
  1. the person subject to the order
  2. an interested person for the person in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the Chief Psychiatrist
A decision of the MHRT on a review of a person’s fitness for trial under Chapter 12, Part 6
  1. the person subject to the order
  2. an interested person for the person in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the Attorney-General
  4. if an AMHS is responsible for the person, the Chief Psychiatrist
  5. if the FDS is responsible for the person, the Director of Forensic Disability
A decision of the MHRT on a review of the detention of a minor in a high security unit under Chapter 12, Part 7
  1. the minor
  2. an interested person for the minor acting on the minor’s behalf
  3. the Chief Psychiatrist
A decision of the MHRT on an application for approval to perform a regulated treatment on a person Chapter 12, Part 9
  1. the person the subject of the application
  2. an interested person for the person mentioned in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the doctor who made the application
  4. the Chief Psychiatrist
A decision of the MHRT on an application for approval of the transfer of a person into or out of Queensland under Chapter 12, Part 10
  1. the person the subject of the application
  2. an interested person for the person mentioned in (a) acting on the person’s behalf
  3. the Attorney-General
  4. if an AMHS is responsible for the person, the Chief Psychiatrist
  5. if the FDS is responsible for the person, the Director of Forensic Disability.