MENTAL HEALTH AND THE LAW (2)
PROTECTIONS FOR PERSONS INVOLUNTARILY DETAINED UNDER THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2001
Once a person is the subject of an admission order or of a renewal order under the Mental Health Act 2001, the consultant psychiatrist making the order must send a copy of the order to the Mental Health Commission and must give notice in writing of the making of the order to the person. Section 16 Mental Health Act 2001.
On receiving the copy order, the Mental Health Commission must
a) refer the matter to a Tribunal,
b) direct in writing a consultant psychiatrist to examine the patient concerned, to interview the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the treatment of the patient and review the records relating to the patient
for the purpose of determining whether the patient is suffering from a mental disorder. Section 17 Mental Health Act 2001.
When an order has been referred to a Tribunal under Section 17, it shall review the detention of the patient and shall either affirm the order or revoke the order.
To affirm the order the Tribunal must be satisfied that the patient is suffering from a mental disorder and that the relevant provisions of the act, where applicable, have either been complied with or if not complied with the failure to do so did not affect the substance of the order and did not cause an injustice.
In the event that the Tribunal is not so satisfied then it must revoke the order and direct the person be discharged from the approved centre.
If the patient is discharged or agrees to stay in the approved centre as a voluntary patient prior to the detention being reviewed by the Tribunal, then he or she is entitled to have his or her detention reviewed by a Tribunal if he or she so indicates by notice in writing to the Mental Health Commission within 14 days of his or her discharge. Section 28 Mental Health Act 2001.
A patient may appeal to the Circuit Court against a decision of a Tribunal to affirm an order on the grounds that he or she is not suffering from a mental disorder. Section 19(1) Mental Health Act 2001.
The Court of Appeal held in the case of IF -v- MHT & ors (18th April 2018) that an appeal also lies from the decision of a Tribunal convened after a patient has been discharged.
Although not provided for in the Mental Health Act 2001, an appeal may also lie to the High Court. This may take the form of a habeas corpus application or an appeal on a point of law, inter alia.
However, no civil proceedings shall be instituted in respect of an act purporting to have been done in pursuance of the Mental Health Act 2001 save by leave of the High Court. Leave will not be refused unless the High court is satisfied that the proceedings are frivilous or vexatious or that there are no reasonable grounds for contending that the person against whom the proceedings are brought acted in bad faith or without reasonable care. Section 73 (1) Mental Health Act 2001.