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Health & disability

Reviews and appeals


At different stages of the compulsory assessment and treatment process, you have the right to apply for a review or to appeal decisions made about you:

  • while you are being assessed, you can ask a judge to review the decision that you have a mental disorder
  • if an application is made to put you under a compulsory treatment order, you can go to the hearing and defend yourself against the application (see “Compulsory Treatment Orders” in this chapter)
  • if, when your compulsory treatment order is reviewed, your responsible clinician decides that you are not fit to be released from compulsory status, you can apply to the Review Tribunal for a review of this decision
  • if you are in hospital under an inpatient order, you or another person can apply to the High Court for a judicial inquiry (see below in this section, “‘Judicial inquiry’: Going to the High Court”). A judicial inquiry looks at the legality of your detention
  • if you are in hospital under an inpatient order, you also have a separate right to apply to a High Court judge for what’s called a “writ of habeas corpus” – this is a long-established type of legal action you can use if you believe the police or other officials are holding you illegally (see below in this section, “‘Judicial inquiry’: Going to the High Court”).

Some of these review and appeal options are set out in further detail below.

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Mental health

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Health and Disability Commissioner


This “Mental health and addictions” webpage has information and pamphlets about mental-health services, including information for families and whānau.

Since the Mental Health Commission ceased to exist in 2012, the functions of the Health and Disability Commissioner have included monitoring mental health and addiction services and promoting improvements to those services. A specialist Mental Health Commissioner position was established in 2012 as part of the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Ministry of Health Services and Support


List of publicly funded health and disability services available in New Zealand.

Mental Health Foundation


The Mental Health Foundation has useful links and resources for people dealing with mental health issues. Helplines:


1737 call or text to talk


1737 is a completely free service to call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You’ll get to talk to (or text with) a trained counsellor.

Mental health district inspectors


You can find a list of district inspectors on www.health.govt.nz if you search for “mental health district inspectors”

District Inspectors are lawyers appointed by the Minister of Health to protect the rights of people receiving treatment under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, or the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003.

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