If you are detained in hospital under the mental health act, there are two different types of appeal available and you can use either or both. You can appeal to the Hospital Managers and/or the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health), both are described below. Before making an appeal, it is advisable that you source either a Legal Advocate or a Solicitor to help you make an appeal, to advise you and represent your interest at your hearing.
Appeal to the Tribunal
The Tribunal is a statutory body that has responsibility for hearing appeals of patients under detention of the Mental Health Act. They are independent of the hospital you are detained at and the panel will visit the hospital to hear the appeal. The panel will be a legal person who is a Lawyer A doctor, usually a psychiatrist and a Lay Member who has experience of mental health matters.
Your Responsible Clinician, Named Nurse and Social Worker will usually attend the Tribunal. You may attend with your nearest relative and your Advocate or Solicitor will attend to represent your interests.
All patients who appeal to tribunals are entitled to legal representation through Legal Aid Funding. A solicitor or advocate will be able to arrange this for you.
You have the right of appeal once during detention under S2 which must be submitted within the first 14 days of your detention. You have the right of appeal once in the first 6 months of detention under S3 which can be submitted at any time. For longer periods of detention the rules change and your Advocate/Solicitor can advise you of how the rules apply in your case.
The Mental Health Act states that you have the right to an independent review of your case so if you have been in hospital for more than six months , and have not made an appeal to the Tribunal, the Hospital Managers will refer your case and a Tribunal will consider your detention whether you want them to or not. For longer periods of detention the rules change however you always retain the right of appeal or referral to the Tribunal. Some of the rules are be different if youve been sent to hospital by a court, or transferred from prison, but your Advocate/Solicitor can advise you of how the rules apply to your case.
Appeal to the Hospital Managers
Hospital managers are people appointed by the hospital because they have knowledge of Mental Health matters they are independent of the hospital and will sit on a panel to consider appeals and referrals against detention under the Act.
They are bound by the guidance in the mental health act Code of Practice and decisions they make can be challenged in the courts. The Hospital Managers must therefore adopt and apply a procedure which is fair and reasonable, not make irrational decisions that is, decisions which no managers panel, properly directing itself as to the law and on the available information, could have made, and not act unlawfully, that is, contrary to the provisions of the Act and any other legislation (including the Human Rights Act 1998 and relevant equality and anti-discrimination legislation). It is always advisable to have an Advocate or Solicitor with you at a Managers appeal.