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Mental Health Tribunal

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Orders reviewed and made by the Tribunal

The orders that the Mental Health Tribunal primarily reviews and makes are:

  • assessment orders
  • interim treatment orders
  • treatment orders
  • supervision orders
  • restriction orders.

These orders are made under the authority of the Mental Health Act 2013 and the Criminal Justice Mental Impairment Act 1999.

Assessment order

What it is

An assessment order allows someone who has a mental illness (or appears to have a mental illness) to be assessed by a doctor, without their informed consent, to determine if they need treatment.

In some cases, an assessment order is the first step towards an application being made to the Tribunal for a treatment order.

Who makes it

A doctor can make an assessment order. They’ll consider matters such as:

  • if someone has the capacity to make decisions about treatment for themselves
  • if someone is a risk to their own safety and health or to others.

How long it lasts

An assessment order lasts for only 24 hours, unless a second doctor (an approved medical practitioner) upholds it. In this case, it can be extended, but for no more than 72 hours.

Interim treatment order

What it is

A doctor may ask the Tribunal to make an interim treatment order for a patient who may be at risk, before the Tribunal organises a hearing to determine the application for a treatment order.

The Tribunal might also make an interim treatment order if it cannot determine the application before the assessment order expires.

An interim treatment order authorises treatment to be given to the patient until the treatment order is determined.

Who makes it

The Mental Health Tribunal makes an interim treatment order.

How long it lasts

An interim treatment order is valid for 10 days.

Treatment order

What it is

A treatment order authorises treatment for a patient. The treatment is set out in a treatment plan, and it can take place in a hospital, in the community, or a combination of both. If the treatment can be given in a community setting, mental health officers or police officers have the power to escort the patient to their treatment.

A doctor (approved medical practitioner) can apply to the Tribunal for a treatment order.

A treatment order may follow on directly from an assessment order.

A treatment order can be applied for even if the patient is not on an assessment order.

Who makes it

The Mental Health Tribunal makes a treatment order. It will consider factors such as:

  • if someone has the capacity to make decisions about treatment for themselves
  • if someone is a risk to their own safety and health or to others
  • if the treatment will be appropriate and effective for the patient.

How long it lasts

A treatment order is valid for up to 6 months.

It automatically expires unless a doctor (approved medical practitioner) applies to the Tribunal to renew it (they need to do this at least 10 days before the treatment order’s expiry date).

There is no limit to the number of times a treatment order can be renewed. The first time it can be renewed for 6 months; after this, it can be renewed for 12 months at a time.

Supervision order

What it is

A supervision order is an order that releases someone into the community under the supervision of the Chief Psychiatrist.

It may have conditions attached to it: for example, requiring the person to take certain medication or report to a medical centre once a week.

Who makes it

The Supreme Court makes a supervision order.

The Tribunal must review the supervision order within 12 months of it being made, and at least once every 12 months after that.

How long it lasts

A supervision order continues until the order is revoked (cancelled) by the Supreme Court.

For more detail about these orders, see our fact sheet on supervision orders.

Restriction order

What it is

A restriction order is an order that requires someone to be admitted to and detained in a secure mental health unit (the Wilfred Lopes Centre) until the order is discharged by the Supreme Court.

It may have conditions attached to it: for example, requiring the person to take certain medication or report to a medical centre once a week.

Who makes it

The Supreme Court makes a restriction order.

The Tribunal must review the restriction order within 12 months of it being made, and at least once in each 12 months after that.

How long it lasts

A restriction order continues until the order is discharged (cancelled) by the Supreme Court.

For more detail about these orders, see our fact sheet on restriction orders.