Mental Health Act 2007 Overview
The Mental Health Act 2007 was given Royal Assent on 19 July 2007. The main implementation date was 3 November 2008. See Mental Health Bill 2006 for some background information, and Mental Health Act 1983 Overview and Mental Capacity Act 2005 Overview for further details. Amendments made to the Mental Health Act 1983 and Mental Capacity Act 2005 by the 2007 Act are incorporated into the text on this site.
The effect of the Act
The major amendments made by the 2007 Act are listed below. Each page contains a summary of the change, when it comes into force, and an extract from the Mental Health Act 2007 Explanatory Notes where appropriate.
Community Treatment Orders:
Definition of mental disorder:
- Mental disorder no longer split into separate classifications 3/11/08
- Abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct is only a consideration for learning disability (not personality disorder) 3/11/08
- Some exclusions to definition of mental disorder have been removed 3/11/08
- Hospital directions under s45A apply to any mental disorder 3/11/08
- Appropriate treatment test replaces treatability test and applies to all patients under long-term detention 3/11/08
- New definition of medical treatment 3/11/08
- Patient can apply to displace nearest relative, who can now be displaced on grounds of unsuitability 3/11/08
- Civil partners are treated as if married when determining nearest relative 1/12/07
- Additional safeguards for ECT introduced in new s58A 3/11/08
- Treatment while under SCT is covered by new Part 4A 3/11/08
- SOAD certificate becomes invalid when patient loses or gains capacity 3/11/08
Code of Practice:
- Legal status of Code of Practice set out in Act
- Fundamental principles set out in Act and included in Code of Practice
- 16- or 17-year-old with capacity cannot be detained on basis of parental consent 1/1/08
- New requirements for age-appropriate accommodation for children (April 2010)
- Hospital direction patients can no longer apply to Tribunal during first six months 3/11/08
- Conditionally-discharged hospital direction patients can be absolutely discharged by MHRT 1/10/07
- Restriction orders can no longer be time-limited 1/10/07
- Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 applies to unrestricted criminal patients 3/11/08
Mental Health Review Tribunal:
- Automatic reference scheme under s68 changed 3/11/08
- Organisation of Mental Health Review Tribunal changed 3/11/08 (partially)
- Reference to Local Health Boards inserted into Act
- Procedure for making of instruments by Welsh Ministers set out
Mental Capacity Act 2005:
- Bournewood gap bridged by Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards inserted into MCA 2005 (April 2009)
- Limitation to the exceptions to the duty to instruct IMCA
- Minor drafting error in MCA 2005 corrected
- NHS Foundation Trusts discharge power problem remedied 24/7/07
- Higher penalties for offences under Act 1/10/07
- Patients can be transferred between places of safety under s135 and s136 30/4/08
- New Independent Mental Health Advocate scheme (April 2009)
- Transitional provisions until full implementation of MHA 2007
- New cross-border arrangements for leave and transfer 3/11/08
The Acts which are amended
The 2007 Act will amend or has amended:
- the Mental Health Act 1983 - all the proposed amendments can be read on this site, alongside the current law
- the Mental Capacity Act 2005 - only some of the proposed amendments have been added to this site, but all in force amendments listed on this page have been added
More minor amendments are made to various other enactments.
Implementation of the Act
DH commencement plan - This document lists each section of the 2007 Act and the date on which it is intended that the section will come into force. Updated on 9 May 2008.
NHS Confederation Briefing: Implementing the Mental Health Act 2007: What boards need to know and do - Sept 2008, published on CSIP website 23/10/08.
Some of the commencement orders have associated guidance documents and these can be located on the commencement order pages. For guidance documents on transitional arrangements, please see Transitional provisions until full implementation of MHA 2007.
See the individual pages below for details of which MHA 1983 sections are affected by each Commencement Order.
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2007 The provisions around NHS Foundation Trusts (section 45 MHA 2007) came into force on 24/7/07.
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2007 1/10/07 - fixing minor drafting error in MCA 2005
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2007 1/10/07, 1/12/07, 1/1/08 - various provisions: approval of courses etc for approved mental health professionals; amendment to section 62 of Care Standards Act 2000; cross-border arrangements; time-limited restriction orders; conditionally discharged patients subject to limitation directions; offence of ill-treatment: increase in maximum penalty on conviction on indictment; local health boards; independent mental capacity advocacy service: exceptions; civil partners (1/12/07); information admission of patients aged 16 and 17 (1/1/08)
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2008 1/4/08 - (1) some provisions for the purpose only of making regulations; (2) others relating to: regulations as to approvals in relation to England and Wales; approved mental health professionals; conflicts of interest; independent mental health advocates; authority to treat; cross-border arrangements; Welsh Ministers: procedure for instruments; consequential provisions; (3) amendments to MCA 2005
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 5 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008 30/4/08 - amending s135 and s136 re places of safety
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 6 and After-care under Supervision: Savings, Modifications and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008 3/11/08, 4/5/09 - SCT
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 7 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2008 3/11/08 - most of the rest of the Act
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 9) Order 2008 28/10/08 - cross-border arrangements
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 10 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2009 — In force 1/4/09. This order brings into force the provisions in relation to IMHAs for England (they are already in force in Wales). It also commences the deprivation of liberty safeguards, and introduces transitional provisions: provided the applications are received on or before 30/4/09, 42 days (instead of 21) are allowed for completing assessments for a standard authorisation, and urgent authorisations last for 21 days (instead of 7); urgent authorisations given on or before 30/4/09 cannot be extended.
- Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 11) Order 2010 — This order brings new s131A (Accommodation, etc for children) into force from 1/4/10. It applies to patients under 18 who are liable to be detained under the MHA or admitted informally. The hospital managers must ensure that the patient's environment is suitable having regard to his age (subject to his needs); they must consult a person with knowledge or experience of such cases. SI 2010/143.
Secondary legislation - England & Wales
Secondary legislation - England
Secondary legislation - Wales
Secondary legislation - Scotland
Check these sites for news of updates:
- Statute Law Database: search results for "Mental Health Act" - for recent commencement orders etc.
- Department of Health: "Mental Health Act 2007 - commencement orders, regulations, and other secondary legislation" page
- Care Services Improvement Partnership News/Update Bulletins - Final update (number 12) published on March 2009. This is a link to the archived content of the website.
Legislation: see Mental Health Act 2007
- Mental Health Act 2007 - frequently asked questions, from DH website - published 31/10/08
- Mental Health Act Commission Policy briefing issue 17 - dealing with the MHA 2007
- Royal College of Psychiatrists MH Bill newsletter 14 - including a summary of the MHA 2007.
- King's Fund Mental Health Act 2007 briefing - published 8/12/08