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Reviews and appeals

Review of patient’s condition by a judge

Who can apply for a review?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 16

At any time during your first and second periods of assessment (see “The compulsory assessment process” in this chapter) an application can be made to have your condition reviewed by a judge.

You can apply for a review for yourself, or any of the following people can apply for a review on your behalf:

  • the applicant for assessment
  • your principal caregiver (if you have one)
  • your usual GP or nurse
  • your welfare guardian (if you have one)
  • a district inspector.

How will the judge carry out the review?

The judge will visit you, at the place you are being assessed or at the hospital nearest to where you live. The judge will ask you about your mental health and whether you think you need treatment. The judge will also talk to your responsible clinician and to at least one other health professional involved with your care. The judge may also consult with other people if they think this will be helpful.

What happens after the review?

If the judge is satisfied that you are fit to be released from compulsory status, you are discharged and the assessment process ends. If the judge thinks you are not fit to be released, the assessment and treatment will continue.

Can I apply for more than one review?

Yes. However, a judge will only allow a second review if your condition has changed since the last review.

Did this answer your question?

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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