Mental Health Tribunal guidance

About us

We are part of the First-tier-Tribunal, Health, Education and Social Care Chamber. Our jurisdiction covers the whole of England. There is a separate Mental Health Tribunal for Wales, which is administered and based in Cardiff and a separate Mental Health Review Tribunal for Scotland.

We hear applications and references for people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007) or living in the community following the making of a conditional discharge, or a community treatment or guardianship order.

Our main purpose is to review the cases of patients detained under the Mental Health Act and to direct the discharge of any patients where the statutory criteria for detention are not met.

Our cases involve making a balanced judgment on a number of issues such as:
  • the patient’s diagnosis and the need for medical treatment;

  • the freedom of the individual;

  • the protection of the public and

  • the best interests of the patient.
Tribunal hearings are normally held in private and take place in the hospital where the patient is or used to be detained or a convenient community unit.

Our principal powers are:
  • to discharge a detained patient from hospital immediately or after a short further period of detention. In some cases, the discharge will be conditional;

  • with a view to discharge on a future date, to recommend leave of absence, or recommend transfer to another hospital;

  • to recommend that the patient’s Responsible Clinician consider making a Community Treatment Order.
The tribunal may reconvene and rehear a case if there is a failure to comply with their recommendations.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service


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