Video transcript: How to prepare for your Tribunal hearing

The Tribunal will decide if you need compulsory treatment.

Preparing for your hearing can make it easier to have your say about whether you need compulsory treatment. 

You can do these things to prepare for your hearing:

  • Get someone to help you
  • Read your treating team’s report 
  • Plan what you will say  
  • Bring your advance statement.
Get someone to help you prepare

You can ask these people to help you prepare for your hearing:

Members of your treating team 

They understand your treatment. You can ask them to help you understand why they think you need compulsory treatment. 

You can also ask them to help you get an advocate or a lawyer. 

Your health service may also have a peer worker or a consumer consultant who can help you prepare for your hearing.

A family member, friend or carer

They can help you prepare and can attend the hearing with you. 

You can also make somebody your nominated person who will:

  • receive information about your treatment
  • be invited to your hearing
  • say what you want at your hearing. 

You can make somebody your nominated person using the Nominated Person Form. This takes a while so don’t leave it too late. 

You can learn more about nominating a person to support you on the Independent Mental Health Advocacy website

Find out more about family, friends and carers at Tribunal hearings

An Independent Mental Health Advocate

These advocates help people have their say about mental health treatment. 

You can ask for an advocate by contacting:  

Independent Mental Health Advocacy  Telephone: 1300 947 820 Email: Independent Mental Health Advocacy 

A lawyer

You can ask a lawyer for advice or to speak for you at your hearing by calling: 

You can also ask a private lawyer to help you.

An interpreter

You can telephone the Tribunal with an interpreter by calling the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

If you want an interpreter at your hearing, we will pay for it. You can tell your treating team that you want an interpreter at your hearing. They will tell us, and we will organise an interpreter for you.

Read your treating team’s report

Before your hearing, your treating team will write a report for you and the Tribunal. The report includes your treatment and why they believe you need compulsory treatment. 

A copy of this report should be given to you at least 2 days before your hearing. Ask your health service for a copy if you have not received one. 

The report can be hard to understand. You can ask someone to help you understand it. You can also share your report with a family member, friend or carer. 

Plan what you will say

At your hearing we will ask you about:

  • your mental health
  • your treatment
  • what you think about being a compulsory patient on a Treatment Order.

You can plan and write down what you want to tell us including:

  • What you think about your treatment?
  • What you think about being on a Treatment Order? 
  • If you are in hospital, would you prefer to be treated in the community?
  • Who could help you stay well? How?
  • Is anything in the report wrong? 
  • Do you think any of the criteria for compulsory treatment do not apply to you? Why? 

The criteria for compulsory treatment are: 

1. You have a mental illness

2. You need treatment now to prevent

  • a serious deterioration in your mental health or physical health or 
  • serious harm to you or someone else

3. You will be treated now if you are on a Treatment Order

4. There is no reasonable less restrictive way to enable you to receive immediate treatment. 

      You can use our work sheet What I want to tell the Mental Health Tribunal (Word, 30 KB) to plan and write down what you will say. 

      The Victoria Legal Aid website also has a booklet called Going to a Mental Health Tribunal hearing that can help you prepare for your hearing. You can ask for a printed copy at your health service. 

      Find out how to plan what to say at a hearing about ECT - electroconvulsive treatment (ECT).

      Talk to your treating team about how to participate

      You can participate in your hearing:

      Talk to your treating team about how you would like to participate.

      Bring your advance statement

      An advance statement is a legal document that says what treatment you want and don't want if you become unwell.

      If you have an advance statement, please bring it to your hearing or email a copy to the Mental Health Tribunal

      Find out more about advance statements on the Independent Mental Health Advocacy website

      Ask for more time to prepare

      You can ask us to change your hearing to a later date by calling 1800 242 703 or emailing the Mental Health Tribunal.

      It may not be possible to change your hearing date because of timeframes required by the law. We will tell you whether we can change the hearing date.