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Health & disability

The compulsory assessment process

Step 5: Certificate of further assessment

What happens after the first period of assessment?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 12

Before the end of the five-day period, the responsible clinician must examine you and provide a certificate of further assessment saying whether or not they believe that you still have a mental disorder and, if they do, whether you need further assessment or treatment.

If the responsible clinician believes that you still have a mental disorder and need further treatment, you will be kept under compulsory assessment for up to another 14 days. This is called the second period of assessment and treatment (see below in this section, “Step 6: The second period of assessment and treatment”).

You will be given a copy of the certificate and a notice explaining this. A copy of the certificate and the notice must also be sent to:

  • 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
  • an official visitor.

When the district inspector receives a copy of the certificate, they will contact you, find out your wishes and offer you advice about your legal rights as they think necessary. The district inspector will also give you information about your right to have a judge review the decision to keep you under compulsory assessment. If you, the patient (or any of the people who were sent a copy of the certificate) want a review, the district inspector can help with an application (see “Reviews and appeals” in this chapter).

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 70

Note: As the patient, you are entitled to legal advice and can request the assistance of a lawyer if you want advice about your legal rights.

What happens if the certificate of further assessment says that I no longer have a mental disorder?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 12

If the responsible clinician believes that you no longer have a mental disorder, you must be released from compulsory status. This means you can no longer be made to receive assessment or treatment, and, if you are in a hospital, you are free to leave.

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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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