How we can help you

The Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007) provides the legal authority for the detention of mentally disordered individuals in hospital within England & Wales. MCK Solicitors Ltd can help you if you are detained under or otherwise subject to the provisions of the Act.  The law regarding detention in hospital is often complex, so you should contact us for detailed, tailored advice about your position.

I have been sectioned – what does this mean?

This means you have been detained in hospital against your will under a section of the Mental Health Act.  Your detention will be for either assessment and/or treatment of a mental disorder, and be considered necessary for your own health or safety or for the protection of others.  You will have a Responsible Clinician (RC) who, as your doctor, will have the power to make key decisions regarding your care and treatment.

While you are detained, your freedom can be lawfully restricted in many ways – for example, you may only be given leave outside of hospital with the permission of your RC (or in some cases the Secretary of State), you may be secluded in certain circumstances and you may be forcibly given medication for your mental disorder, even if you do not want it. 

Who is my ‘Nearest Relative’ and how can they help me?

The Mental Health Act defines your Nearest Relative in a strict order, generally being the first in the list (and eldest of):

  • Spouse/civil partner (or cohabitee who you have lived with for at least six months)

  • Child (if over 18)

  • Father or mother (oldest)

  • Brother or sister

  • Grandparent

  • Uncle or aunt

  • Nephew or niece.

 

Your Nearest Relative has the right to be consulted about your detention, subject to your agreement.  As such, they can be useful in helping you through this period of your life.  Depending upon which section you are subject to, your Nearest Relative may also have the power to object to your section being imposed, and order or apply for your discharge from section.   Also in certain circumstances, your Nearest Relative can be displaced meaning that they will be prevented from acting as your Nearest Relative for the time of the displacement.  Such events and the role and involvement of your Nearest Relative in your care may be complex and emotional.  We can advise you and/or your Nearest Relative about this and any other aspect of their role as your Nearest Relative.  

How do I appeal my section?

All detained patients have the right to appeal to the Tribunal and/or the Hospital Managers to request discharge from detention. We can advise you about this and help you to complete the necessary forms. You may be entitled to public funding for your legal advice.

What is a Hospital Managers’ hearing?

Hospital Managers independent of the hospital you are detained in, but are appointed by the Trust that runs the hospital.  They have the power to review your detention under the Act and, if you are an unrestricted patient, they have the power to discharge you from detention.  

Your RC, a nurse and a social worker or community psychiatric nurse (CPN) will prepare the reports for your hearing and you will be able to see these and discuss them with your solicitor before the hearing.

At the hearing, a Panel of three or possibly four Managers will consider your case.  They will hear evidence about your detention from those who have prepared reports and also they will hear from you, and perhaps your Nearest Relative. Your solicitor can assist you at this hearing and will be able to question all witnesses on your behalf.   

What is a Tribunal hearing?

The Tribunal is entirely independent of the hospital and the Trust running the hospital.  It is made up of a panel of three members: the Medical Member (a consultant psychiatrist), the Tribunal Judge (a lawyer) and a Lay Member.

Your RC, a nurse and a social worker or community psychiatric nurse (CPN) will prepare the reports for your hearing and you will be able to see these and discuss them with your solicitor before the hearing.

You can ask to meet with the Medical Member before your hearing. The Medical Member will give feedback from this preliminary examination to the Tribunal and all parties at the beginning of your hearing.

The Tribunal will hear evidence about your detention from those who have prepared reports and also they will hear from you, and perhaps your Nearest Relative. Your solicitor can represent you at this hearing and will be able to question all witnesses on your behalf.   

The Tribunal has the power to discharge the section (or recommend discharge for restricted transferred prisoners) and in some instances, order conditions to be attached to the discharge. The Tribunal also has other powers, including to make recommendations for leave or transfer or to make directions to ensure your application is dealt with effectively.  

How can MCK Solicitors Ltd help me?

We can help you to challenge your detention in hospital.  We can do this by helping you prepare for your hearing (including where appropriate and justified obtaining independent expert evidence to assist your application).  We can also represent you at your Tribunal hearings and Hospital Managers’ hearings, making sure that your views are aired and your concerns are addressed. We can challenge the factual evidence that you disagree with and challenge the statutory criteria for your continued detention.

After your hearing we can explain the Tribunal’s decision to you and advise you about your options moving forward.

It will free for us to represent you at Tribunal hearing, as you will be entitled to non-means tested public funding.  You may also qualify for Legal Help to assist with your Managers’ hearing.  

We can also provide general advice and assistance about other issues that arise from your detention in hospital.  If you therefore have a concern we recommend that you contact us to discuss it to see if we can help.   

Tell me about my section

The table below provides a brief summary of sections you might be detained under and your rights, to help you decide how we may be able to help you.

Contact us on

020  3761 3550

or email 

office@mcksolicitors.com

Expertise at your fingertips

We are proud to hold the Specialist Quality Mark and are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency

MCK Solicitors Ltd is registered in England No. 09720371 and is authorised and regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority 624080

© 2019 MCK Solicitors Ltd

  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon