The Mental Health Review Tribunal is an independent judicial body, set up under the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (the Order), which reviews the cases of patients who are compulsorily detained or are subject to guardianship under the Order.
The Tribunal’s function is to provide mental health patients with a safeguard against unjustified detention in hospital or control under guardianship by means of a review of their cases from both the medical and non-medical points of view.
For further information about the Mental Health Tribunal please use this link.
The Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (can be found at www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1986/595)
The Mental Health Review Tribunal (Northern Ireland) Rules 1986 (can be found at www.gain-ni.org/flowcharts/downloads/mhrt_statutory_rules_of_northern_ireland.pdf)
The Mental Health Review Tribunal (Amendment) Rules (NI 2016) (can be found here).
Procedure a Nearest Relative must follow before applying to the Tribunal
- Before a nearest relative (NR) can apply to the Tribunal for a review of a patient’s case they must (a) be the NR of the patient concerned and (b) have followed the correct procedure prior to making the application.
- The procedure that must be followed is set out in Article 71(4) of the Mental Health (NI) Order 1986. The NR must first write to the Trust ordering the discharge of the patient. The Trust must then write back to the NR barring the discharge. On receipt of that letter, the NR then has 28 days to apply to the Tribunal for a review of the case. The NR must send a copy of the Trust’s letter barring discharge along with their application to prove the procedure has been followed.
- The NR can, once the correct process has been followed, apply for a review of a patient’s case once a year beginning with the date of detention or guardianship of the patient.