The Mental Health Tribunal and Powers of Review
Formation and Purpose of the Tribunal
The Mental Health Tribunal is an independent tribunal established by the Mental Health Act 2013. Its primary role is to confirm orders for, or to hear appeals against and conduct reviews of, the detention and treatment of involuntary patients.
Section 167 of the Mental Health Act provides that the Tribunal is to be constituted by one person who must be a qualified legal practitioner of not less than 5 years’ experience, at least one person who is a psychiatrist, and at least 4 other members. The President of the Tribunal is appointed by the Govenor from amongst the persons with legal experience.
The Tribunal is funded by the Department of Justice and Industrial Relations. However, administrative responsibility for the Mental Health Act rests with the Minister for Health and Human Services.
Periodic Reviews of Tribunal Orders
Reviews of assessment orders may occur at any time under the Tribunal’s own motion or upon application.
Treatment orders must be reviewed within 30 days of their taking effect, again after 90 days, and then, periodically, at intervals not exceeding 90 days.
Reviews of orders to admit patients to Secure Mental Health Units must be reviewed after 3 days, and again at any other time under the Tribunal’s own motion, or upon the application of any person with the necessary standing.
People who can apply for a review of an order include the patient, the person responsible for the patient, or another person who has an interest in the welfare of the patient (Schedule 4, Part 2, s2).
General Powers and Duties
The Tribunal has, among others, the following powers and duties:
- the power to make, vary, renew, and discharge treatment orders (s168(1));
- to do all things necessary or convenient to be done to perform its functions (s 169);
- to direct that a patient be examined or given specified health care (s194(c)(i));
- to review the making of any order under the Mental Health Act in general (s179); and
- to review involuntary patient movement or transfer within Tasmania (s190).
The Tribunal also has jurisdiction to review certain orders made under the Criminal Justice (Mental Impairment) Act 1999 (Tas) and the Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas).
Page last updated 12/09/2019