Video transcript: What happens at the Mental Health Tribunal

A Tribunal hearing is a meeting where we decide if you must have mental health treatment.

It is important that you come to have your say about whether you need compulsory treatment.

At your hearing, 3 Tribunal members will read:

  • a report from your treating team and relevant information from your medical file
  • any information you provide.

Then we have a discussion with you and your treating team. We ask you about your views and preferences.

Then we decide if your treatment will be compulsory. We use the criteria in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 to decide.

We tell you our decision.

Hearings are generally held between 9am and 5pm. Hearings take about 1 hour (with 40 minutes allocated for discussion). They are private and confidential.

The 3 Tribunal members are:

  • a legal member
  • a psychiatrist member or medical member
  • a community member.

We are an independent tribunal and are not part of your health service. We make sure that the hearing is fair.

What exactly will the Tribunal decide?

At a hearing about your treatment order we can decide to cancel (revoke) your treatment order. This means that you can decide whether to continue treatment.

The Tribunal can also decide you must be treated on one of these orders:

  • community treatment order – You must have treatment but do not need to be in hospital. Your treating psychiatrist can cancel it at any time. 
  • inpatient treatment order – You must be in hospital and have treatment. Your treating psychiatrist can cancel this order or change it to a community treatment order at any time.

If you are 18 years or older a treatment order can be for up to 6 months.

If you are under 18 years old a treatment order can only be for up to 3 months.

To find out what the Tribunal can decide at a hearing about ECT see Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT)

How will the Tribunal make their decision?

We decide whether you need a treatment order by answering these four questions which are based on criteria in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022:

  1. Do you have a mental illness?
  2. Do 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. Will you be treated now if you are on a treatment order?
  4. Is a treatment order the only way to ensure you will get the treatment you need? 

If the answer to all these questions is yes, we will make a treatment order.

If the answer to any of these questions is no, we will cancel (revoke) your treatment order. 

To find out how we make decisions at hearings about ECT see Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT).

How can I participate in my hearing?

The hearing will be conducted as an online meeting using Microsoft Teams.

You can participate in your hearing:

Talk to your treating team or the Tribunal about how to participate. 

Why should I participate in my hearing?

Your hearing is an important opportunity to have your say about whether you need compulsory treatment

You do not have to participate in your hearing. But if you do not participate we will have to make a decision without you. 

If you do not want to participate in your hearing you can still: 

  • contact the Tribunal before your hearing to tell us what you think and want, or
  • ask your nominated support person to represent you.
Can someone support me at my hearing?

You can ask anyone to support you during your hearing including a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • carer
  • lawyer
  • nominated support person.  

Find out about attending a Tribunal hearing as a family member, friend or carer.

Find out how to prepare for your Tribunal hearing

When and where will my hearing be?

We send you a notice of hearing that tells you the date of your hearing and where it will be.  

Your hearing will be held online, which means you can choose to participate by video, telephone or at the health service. 

The health service will tell you the time of your hearing. You can also ask us for details about your hearing by calling us on 1800 242 703.