If you are a family member, friend or carer of a patient invited to a Tribunal hearing, this information is for you.

Should I attend the hearing?

We encourage family, friends and carers to attend hearings to support patients when patients would like that. Please talk to the patient about their Tribunal hearing. Encourage them to attend and ask if they would like you to attend or to help them prepare. 

If the patient does not want you at the hearing or is unable to agree to you being at the hearing, the Tribunal will decide whether to talk to you. 

Can I tell the Tribunal something?

If you attend a hearing as a family member, friend or carer we might ask you questions about the patient. 

For fairness, what you tell us will be shared with the patient. So, it is important to plan what you will and won’t say, and to think about how it will affect your relationship with the patient. 

You can also talk to the patient’s treating team before or after the hearing. 

You can also give us information in writing before the hearing. That information will be shared with the patient for fairness.

Can I have access to the documents prepared for the hearing?

Health services must give their report and any other documents related to the hearing to the patient at least 2 business days before the hearing. The patient chooses whether to share these documents with you. 

Patients can ask their health service to give a copy of documents to their support people.

How can I find out about the hearing?

A patient can tell you about their hearing and invite you to attend. 

Carers, guardians and nominated persons should automatically be notified of Tribunal hearings. This document will include the date and location of the hearing. Please call the health service to find out the time of the hearing.

If you have not been notified about a hearing, contact the health service and ask them to update your details in the state-wide mental health database known as the CMI. We rely on information in the CMI to notify people of hearings so please make sure your contact details are up to date. 

How can I become a nominated support person?

Only a patient can make you their nominated support person. They can do this using the Nominated Support Persons Form

One role of a nominated person is to say what the patient wants to say when they are unable to, or to support a patient to have their say. If you support a patient on a day-to-day basis, speaking on their behalf can be difficult or cause problems in your relationship if you disagree with them. Family members, friends and carers who are not a nominated support person can say what they think at the hearing. 

Find out more about being a nominated support person on the Independent Mental Health Advocacy website

How can I help a patient prepare for their hearing?
What if I disagree with the Tribunal's decision?

Family, friends and carers cannot appeal Tribunal decisions but can help patients to exercise their rights. See I don’t agree with my treatment order for patient's options.

More information for family, friends and carers

Contact Tandem, the peak body for mental health carers for more information and support.