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The compulsory assessment process

Step 6: The second period of assessment and treatment

What are my rights during this second period of treatment?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 13

As the patient, your rights during the second period of assessment and treatment are the same as during the first (see: “Step 4: The first period of assessment and treatment”). For example:

  • you do not have the right to refuse treatment, but you can apply to have your condition reviewed
  • the patient rights set out in the Mental Health Act apply
  • you have the right to have access to a lawyer and all other relevant rights in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
  • you have the right to seek a judicial inquiry to look at whether you are being illegally detained
  • you 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: “‘Judicial inquiry’: Going to the High Court”)
  • you can be given leave if you are being treated in hospital
  • you must be released from compulsory treatment if at any stage you are no longer considered to have a mental disorder.

What happens if I refuse treatment?

If you refuse to receive or attend treatment or leave hospital without permission, the responsible clinician can take steps to detain you (including asking the police for help).

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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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