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|TPC, 'Responses to the consultation on possible changes to the Tribunal Procedure (FTT) (HESC) Rules 2008 regarding pre-hearing examinations and decisions without a hearing in the case of references by the hospital or Department of Health' (23/10/18)||Report||
One interesting response, of many, is this from an MHT judge: "If cases are decided on papers alone, I can see little point in having those cases referred to the Tribunal. I have done a number of paper hearings and they are unsatisfactory." The TPC noted the following points and in consequence rejected the proposed rule changes: (1) The PHE provides for greater participation in the process by the patient. (2) The PHE reduces stress and anxiety at the hearing for the patient who will not need to be asked distressing questions. (3) The PHE allows the patient to talk about their situation privately to a person not involved in their detention. (4) The PHE allows for information missing from reports to be picked up. (5) The PHE is a lesser cost to the public purse than independent psychiatric reports. (6) The High Court has confirmed that there is no reason why the MM cannot carry out a PHE, provided the findings are disclosed at the outset of the hearing as they are currently. (7) Having a second medical opinion to assist the panel reduces the possibility of the wrong decision being made, thus reducing the risk to both the patient and the general public. (8) The system in England is not comparable to the Scottish system which operates in a fundamentally different way. (9) In Wales PHEs are carried out in every case and there are no current plans to alter that. (10) The outcome of MHTs cannot be measured by the numbers discharged but by whether the patient and their representative are satisfied that the case has been properly scrutinised with all relevant evidence before it. (11) Those who have their cases referred to the MHT are the most vulnerable members of society, often lacking the mental capacity to make an application to the MHT. (12) Disposals without a hearing would mean that the MHT panel would have evidence from only one party. (13) The MHT panel would not have adequate information to decide whether an oral hearing is appropriate. (14) There are a significant number of examples of MHTs reaching a decision on referred cases based on evidence that came out at the hearing and not contained in the reports.
|Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Consultation on possible amendments to the Tribunal Procedure (First-Tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008 on the timescale for listing Section 2 hearings' (from 11/2/20 to 7/4/20)||Consultation||
Tribunal rules consultation
The TPC seeks answers to the following questions: (1) Do you agree that the requirement should be that the First-tier Tribunal lists all section 2 hearings within 10 days from receipt of the application notice rather than 7 days? (2) Do you have any other comments on this proposal?
|Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Extracts from the Minutes of the Tribunal Procedure Committee' (4/10/17 to 7/3/18)||Document||
This document, together with Phillip Sycamore, Mark Hinchliffe and Joan Rutherford, 'Representations to the Tribunals Procedure Committee from the Chamber President, Deputy Chamber President and Chief Medical Member (HESC)' (undated, probably late 2017), were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the charity Rethink Mental Illness. They relate to the proposal to abolish pre-hearing examinations and have paper reviews in certain cases. They provide information on the rationale behind the proposals which was omitted from the final version of the consultation document - mainly saving money and promoting flexibility in panel composition (judge-only hearings, including for all s2 cases, and judge-only paper reviews, including for many reference cases).
|Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Minutes' (25/7/18)||Document||
Minutes of 25/7/18 meeting, including the news that the proposals to abolish pre-hearing medical examinations and to reduce the number of oral hearings had been abandoned (the context for this included the ongoing MHA review, Rethink's FOI requests and the overwhelmingly negative response to the consultation).
|Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Minutes' (6/6/18)||Document||
Minutes of 6/6/18 meeting, including discussions about proposed rule changes (relating to pre-hearing examinations and paper hearings) and litigation friends.
|Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Proposal to amend the Tribunal Procedure (First-Tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008' (consultation from 22/3/18 to 11/6/18)||Consultation||
The MOJ, with support from the senior HESC judiciary, proposed that: (1) preliminary medical examinations should be abolished; and (2) mandatory references for adult patients, unless a party requests or the tribunal directs an oral hearing, should be determined by a paper review procedure. Following consultation, the Tribunal Procedure Committee roundly rejected the proposal.
Papers released under the Freedom of Information Act
|Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Responses to the consultation (on changes to the s2 listing window) and reply from the TPC' (23/6/20)||Consultation reply||
Conclusion of s2 listing window consultation
The TPC made the proposed changes (10 days instead of 7 for listing s2 hearings), plus an explicit power to ignore the deadline. The change was a temporary response to the coronavirus pandemic, and its effects will be monitored before a a final decision is made. There were 60 responses, including from two organisations (the Law Society and the MHT Members Association): 51 were in favour and 9 against.