Section 38: interim hospital order

An interim hospital order under s38 is a temporary hospital order made in the case of person convicted of an imprisonable offence other than murder, where there is evidence that it may be appropriate for a hospital order under s37 to be made.


The criteria for the court are as follows:

Where a person is convicted before the Crown Court of an offence punishable with imprisonment (other than an offence the sentence for which is fixed by law) or is convicted by a magistrates’ court of an offence punishable on summary conviction with imprisonment and the court before or by which he is convicted is satisfied, on the written or oral evidence of two registered medical practitioners—

(a) that the offender is suffering from mental disorder; and
(b) that there is reason to suppose that the mental disorder from which the offender is suffering is such that it may be appropriate for a hospital order to be made in his case,

the court may, before making a hospital order or dealing with him in some other way, make an order (in this Act referred to as “an interim hospital order”) authorising his admission to such hospital as may be specified in the order and his detention there in accordance with this section.

It can last for a maximum initial period of 12 weeks, and can be extended 28 days at a time up to a maximum of 12 months (s38(5)).

The patient is subject to the Part 4 ‘Consent to Treatment’ provisions.


Routes to discharge The court which imposed the order
Tribunal eligibility No right to apply to Tribunal
Types of discharge When the case returns to court, the order ends if a s37 hospital order is made or the offender is dealt with in some other way (s38(5))
References None


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