The Mental Health Review Tribunal (known as the Tribunal or the MHRT) is an independent decision making body under the Mental Health Act 2016 . Its primary purpose is to review the involuntary status of persons with a mental illness and/or intellectual disability. The Tribunal also provides approval for the performance of electroconvulsive therapy and non-ablative neurosurgical procedures.
In making these decisions, the Tribunal must balance the rights of the patient with the rights of others, including victims of unlawful acts, and the need to protect the community.
Patients who have their involuntary authority or order reviewed by the Tribunal may find the following information and resources useful.
Patients are encouraged to attend their hearings whenever they feel comfortable and well enough to do so. To assist patients in expressing their views to the Tribunal, patients may utilise a self report.
The Tribunal has prepared Information Sheets that contain useful information on the following types of proceedings:
- Examination Authority
- Electroconvulsive Therapy
- Forensic Order
- Treatment Support Order
- Treatment Authority.
In addition to the periodic reviews that the Tribunal will conduct, patients are entitled to apply for their authority or order to be reviewed outside those times. To apply for a review of an authority or order, a patient will need to complete this form and send it to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal is required to hear your application within 28 days of the application being made. You will receive a notice from the Tribunal with the date, time and location of your scheduled hearing.
The Tribunal may schedule your application and a periodic review at the same time.
There is no limit on the number of applications that can be made to the Tribunal, however, the President may dismiss an application if the President is satisfied the application is frivolous or vexatious.
Representation at your hearing
Patients are entitled to be represented by a nominated support person, lawyer or another person at their hearing.
In some circumstances, the Tribunal is required to appoint a lawyer or other representative for a patient, at the Tribunal’s cost. These circumstances are:
- if the patient is a minor
- if the hearing is to determine the patient’s fitness for trial
- if the hearing is to consider an application for electroconvulsive therapy
- if the Attorney-General is to appear or be represented at the hearing.
If the patient is an adult with capacity, the patient may waive the right to be represented. This waiver must be done in writing.
If the above circumstances do not apply, a patient may wish to organise their own representation, though this is not mandatory. There are free legal and advocacy services that might be able to assist. Further information regarding these services can be found here.
A person who represents a patient at a hearing must:
- to the extent the patient is able to express their views, wishes and preferences – represent the person’s views, wishes and preferences
- to the extent the patient is unable to express their views, wishes and preferences – represent the person’s best interests.
A patient is entitled to be accompanied at a hearing by one (1) member of their support network, or more than one (1) if the Tribunal approves.
The patient’s ‘support network’ means:
- nominated support persons (if any)
- family, carers and other support persons.
Further information about support persons can be found here.
Concerns about treatment and care (including limited community treatment/leave)
The role of the Tribunal is to review the status of a person’s involuntary authority or order. Save for limited circumstances regarding the approval of electroconvulsive therapy or non-ablative neurosurgical procedures, the Tribunal is not involved in decisions relating to a person’s treatment and care.
In the first instance, any concerns regarding the treatment and care received by a person from their treating Authorised Mental Health Service (AMHS), should be discussed directly with the treating team. Queensland Health maintains a comprehensive list of services by area on its website.
Each AMHS will also be able to provide you with assistance through an Independent Patients’ Rights Advisor (IPRA). The role of an IPRA is to assist patients and support persons in understanding their rights under the Mental Health Act 2016. To get in touch with the relevant IPRA use the link above to contact the relevant AMHS and ask for their IPRA.
If concerns regarding treatment and care cannot be resolved directly with the AMHS, it may be appropriate to raise the concern with:
Queensland Health, via the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist
Phone: 1800 989 451
Email: [email protected]
Post: PO Box 2368, Fortitude Valley BC, Qld 4006