Detained patients rights of appeal

There is an initial right of appeal to the hospital managers: unless there has been procedural irregularity, it is unusual for managers to overrule clinicians.

Subsequent appeal is to a Mental Health Review Tribunal of three members: a lawyer (the chairperson), a doctor, and a layperson. Tribunals may discharge detained patients if they consider them no longer dangerous or no longer suffering from mental disorder. They may also recommend leave of absence or transfer to another hospital. Under certain sections, patients have the right of application to a tribunal. Review by a tribunal is mandatory at specified intervals for some of the longer treatment sections, such as Section 3, and must be requested by the hospital managers if the patient has not already exercised the right to a tribunal hearing.

Patients may be eligible for legal aid to assist them in preparing a case and obtaining an independent medical opinion, and to cover the cost of legal representation.

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