Mental Health Tribunal, 'Update on coronavirus situation' (18/3/20)
MHT coronavirus guidance The position set out in this guidance is that: (1) hearings will continue as planned; (2) hearings require all three panel members, but this may change as part of the contingency plan being prepared; (3) requests to give evidence via telephone should be sent to the mhtcorrespondence email address; (4) hearings are being arranged as telephone conferences when hospitals are in lock-down; (5) listing window extension requests should be submitted to mhtcasemanagementrequests, but extended windows may be part of the contingency plan; (6) the tribunal is pushing for greater provision for paper hearings; (7) pre-hearing medical examinations are continuing, subject to the circumstances of each case, but these could cease if all hearings become telephone reviews. Largely superseded by: Tribunals Judiciary, 'Guidance from the Chamber President and Deputy Chamber President of HESC regarding the Mental Health jurisdiction' (Coronavirus, 19/3/20).
Full text of email
The full text is set out below (from an email from the MHT to the MHLA).
1) Will hearings currently listed be continuing as planned?
Hearings will continue as planned.
2) Will hearings be still requiring all 3 panel members being in attendance?
For now all hearings will still require all 3 panel members but this is subject to change as part of a contingency plan. Unfortunately I cannot say anymore until this has been finalised.
3) Will all witnesses be required to be present throughout the hearing?
Whilst the hearing will be most effective with all witnesses available it is understandably not so straightforward. If required any party has the opportunity to take part in the proceedings via telephone and this request should be sent to the mhtcorrespondence email address.
4) What provision will be put in place for telephone or video hearings?
As it stands, if a hospital is on lock down due to a confirmed and/or suspect case of COVID-19 we are rearranging the hearing for telephone conference.
5) Will timescales for listing hearings be extended? I hope this’ll be part of the contingency plan, but as it stands a listing window extension request should be made and submitted to mhtcasemanagementrequests.
6) Will there be greater provision for paper hearings?
Yes, this is what we are pushing for
7) Will PHE’s continue
For now, yes they will subject to the circumstances on a case by case basis. PHE’s could be put on hold for all hearings if everything goes by telephone review.
Communication and Correspondence Team | First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) | HMCTS