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Applying to the Review Tribunal

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, ss 79, 82, 83, 89, 101–104

What is the Review Tribunal?

The Review Tribunal is a special court. It can:

There are three people on the Review Tribunal – a lawyer, a psychiatrist and one other person. If the patient is under 17, where possible, the psychiatrist should be someone who specialises in working with children and young people.

How do I apply to the Review Tribunal?

Your responsible clinician must examine you three months after a compulsory treatment order begins (and then every six months after that) to see whether or not you need to stay under compulsory treatment. These examinations are called clinical reviews (see: “What happens if a compulsory treatment order is extended?”).

If, after a clinical review, the responsible clinician decides that you are not fit to be released from compulsory status, a district inspector will contact you and give you information about your right to apply for a review of this decision.

Any of the following people can make an application to the Review Tribunal:

  • you, the patient
  • the district inspector or official visitor
  • your principal caregiver (if you have one)
  • your usual GP or nurse
  • your welfare guardian (if you have one).

If the district inspector thinks there should be a review but no one wants to apply, the district inspector will report this to the Tribunal, and they can review your status anyway.

Note: The Tribunal can refuse to consider an application for review if it has reviewed your condition within the previous three months and there is no reason to believe there has been a change in your condition. It can also refuse to consider the application if the application is made by a friend or relative and the Tribunal thinks it has not been made in your best interests.

What will happen at the Tribunal hearing?

As soon as possible, and not later than 21 days (or a further seven days) after an application is made, the Review Tribunal will consider the application. You as the patient should attend the hearing unless you have been excused. You can take a lawyer and support person if you wish. If you cannot afford to pay a lawyer, you may be able to get Legal Aid (see: Legal Aid and other legal help).

The Review Tribunal will review all the information about your case. The Tribunal can ask for an independent report of your condition from a psychiatrist who has not been involved with your case so far.

The Review Tribunal’s responsibility is to decide whether you are fit to be released from compulsory status. This means the Tribunal must look at whether you meet the criteria for having a mental disorder (see: Definitions of key terms and descriptions of key people).

What happens after the Tribunal makes its decision?

If the Tribunal decides that you are fit to be released from compulsory status, the compulsory treatment order ends immediately and you do not have to receive any more treatment.

If the Tribunal finds that you are not fit to be released, you will be sent a Certificate of Tribunal Review explaining the Tribunal’s decision and what your legal rights are. A copy of the certificate will also be sent to:

  • the Director of Mental Health
  • the Director of Area Mental Health Services
  • your principal caregiver (if you have one)
  • your usual GP or nurse
  • your welfare guardian (if you have one)
  • a district inspector (or official visitor).

Can I appeal against the Tribunal’s decision?

After you have been sent the Certificate of Tribunal Review, the district inspector will contact you about whether you wish to appeal against the decision to the District Court.

If the district inspector thinks the Tribunal’s decision should be appealed, they will help you or anyone else who received the certificate to apply for an appeal. However, you as the patient and other specified people have the right to appeal regardless of the views of the district inspector.

If no one wants to appeal, the district inspector will decide whether to report the decision to the court. If the district inspector does this, the court can review your condition as if an appeal had been made. An appeal must be made within one month of the date of the Tribunal’s decision.

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Mental health

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Te Hiringa Mahara/Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

The objective of Te Hiringa Mahara is to contribute to better and equitable mental health and wellbeing outcomes for people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Website: www.mhwc.govt.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz
Phone: 0800 11 22 33

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Mental Health Support

Publicly funded health and disability support services available in New Zealand:

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.

Website: www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addiction/mental-health-legislation/mental-health-compulsory-assessment-and-treatment-act-1992/mental-health-district-inspectors

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