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Communtity Law Manual | Mental health | The effects of a compulsory treatment order

Compulsory treatment orders

The effects of a compulsory treatment order

What does it mean to be under a compulsory treatment order?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 59

If you are placed under a compulsory treatment order, you have to accept treatment for the first month of the order. This means that you can be treated without your consent.

After the first month of the compulsory treatment order, you do not have to accept treatment unless:

What happens if I refuse to have treatment?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, ss 40, 41, 122B

If you refuse to have treatment or to go to a place for treatment, reasonable force can be used to give the treatment or take you to the treatment place. If necessary, DAOs and responsible clinicians can ask the police to help. If force is used, this must be recorded, and a copy of the record must be sent to the Director of Area Mental Health Services.

If you are unhappy about the way you have been treated, you can make a complaint to:

  • a district inspector, and
  • if the police were involved, to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (see the chapter “Police powers”).

Can I be made to have electro-convulsive therapy or brain surgery under a compulsory treatment order?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, ss 60, 61

Special rules apply to the use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). You cannot be required to undergo ECT unless:

  • having had the treatment explained, you consent to it in writing (consent can be withdrawn at any time), or
  • the treatment is considered to be in your interests by an independent psychiatrist (who is not the responsible clinician) appointed by the Review Tribunal (see “Reviews and appeals” in this chapter).

Brain surgery is rarely performed today. There are special requirements because this treatment is so intrusive and irreversible. You cannot be made to undergo brain surgery unless:

  • you have consented to it in writing (consent can be withdrawn at any time), and
  • the Review Tribunal (see “Reviews and appeals” in this chapter) has looked at the case and is satisfied that you gave the consent freely and understood the purpose and likely effect of the surgery, and
  • the surgery is considered to be in your best interests by:

    Note: Brain surgery for mental disorder must not be performed on a person who is under the age of 17 years.

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