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Evidence (MHT)

Rule 15 states that the Tribunal may ‘admit evidence whether or not … the evidence would be admissible in a civil trial in England and Wales’. This applies both to reports and oral evidence.

In DL-H v West London Mental Health Trust [2017] UKUT 387 (AAC)M, chaplains had largely supported the patient’s argument that his ideas and behaviour were solely attributable to strong religious beliefs, but the tribunal rejected this on the basis of the medical evidence. The Upper Tribunal rejected the patient’s appeal, noting that there is no rule of evidence that only the evidence of religious experts is admissible on matters of religion. In the same case the Upper Tribunal stated that the tribunal was entitled to make its own diagnosis contrary to the evidence at the hearing, so long as it (a) had reasons for doing so and (b) allowed the patient’s representative to deal with its view before making a decision.

During the coronavirus pandemic, responsible authorities are required to allow immediate access to patients’ medical records upon receipt of the CNL1 form containing the representative’s name and to email without delay any notes specified by the representative: Mental Health Tribunal, ‘Direction for disclosure of medical records to legal representatives in all cases for the duration of the Pilot Practice Direction’ (25/3/20). The relevant PD was not extended beyond 18/9/21.

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