MHRT Rules explanatory note

Mental Health Review Tribunal Rules 1983 (as amended)

N.B. From 3/11/08 these rules will no longer apply. See Tribunal Rules for details.


Rules: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35

Schedules: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 2

Explanatory note

(This Note is not part of the Rules.)

These Rules substitute for the Mental Health Review Tribunal Rules 1960, as amended, a new code of procedure to be followed in proceedings before Mental Health Review Tribunals. The procedure has been revised and modernised generally and some amendments have also been necessitated by recent legislative changes, consolidated in the Mental Health Act 1983. Under the Rules, essentially the same procedure will apply in all types of case, although in the case of references and assessment applications, it is subject to appropriate modifications.

Rule 3 sets out the requirements for making an application; there are no prescribed forms. Rule 5 empowers the chairman of the tribunal to exercise specified powers of the tribunal in the period before the tribunal itself convenes. Rule 6 is to be read with Schedule 1 and specifies the information to be supplied to the tribunal by the responsible authority or, in restricted patient cases, the Secretary of State.

Rule 10 governs the right to representation and empowers the tribunal to authorise a representative for a patient who has omitted to exercise that right. Patients and other parties may also be accompanied before the tribunal by other persons of their choice. Rule 12 requires the tribunal to send copies of all documents it receives to the applicant (and if different, the patient) unless the tribunal considers that disclosure would adversely affect the health or welfare of the patient or others. All such documents must be disclosed to any representative of an applicant or patient who falls within certain specified categories. Rule 13 gives the tribunal a discretion to give directions to ensure the speedy and just determination of the case. There is a similar provision in rule 16 in relation to adjournments.

Rule 20 provides for the minimum period of notice of the hearing date to be 14 days. 14 days is also the minimum period of notice for resumption of an adjourned hearing (rule 16). Rule 21 is concerned with privacy of the proceedings. The tribunal has discretion to exlude anyone from the hearing or part of it but this does not extend to certain specified categories of representative of the applicant or patient. Rule 22 sets out the procedure to be followed at the hearing.

Rule 23 requires the tribunal to record its final decision in writing with reasons. Rule 24 empowers the president of the tribunal to announce the decision immediately after the case, and requires the tribunal to send a written decision, with reasons, to the parties within 7 days unless the tribunal considers that this would adversely affect the health or welfare of the patient or others. Rule 25(1) provides that where the tribunal makes a provisional decision (defined in rule 2) it may make a further decision without another hearing. Rule 25(2) empowers the tribunal to reconvene in a case in which it has made a decision with recommendations (defined in rule 2) and it appears that the recommendations have not been complied with.

Rule 29 applies the procedure laid down by the Rules to references as well as applications subject to certain minor modifications.

Rules 30 to 33 are concerned with applications made by patients detained for assessment, in relation to which the time limits set by section 2(4) and section 66(2)(a) of the Mental Health Act 1983 have necessitated a number of modifications to the procedure for other types ofapplications. Rules 30 to 32 set out the preliminary procedure. Thereafter, rule 33 provides for the general provisions of Parts III, IV and V of the Rules to apply to assessment applications, subject to specified modifications, so far as the circumstances of the case permit.

Rule 35 revokes the earlier rules which these Rules supersede. The Mental Health Review Tribunal (Welsh Forms) Rules 1971 substituted for the forms prescribed in English by the Mental Health Review Tribunal Rules 1960, bilingual versions in Welsh and English to be used for applications to the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales. As the Rules do not prescribe any forms, it is no longer appropriate to provide for translations of prescribed forms.