Tribunal Rules

On 3/11/08 the Tribunal systems in both England and Wales changed, but in different ways. In England, the Mental Health Review Tribunals were abolished and became part of the Health Education and Social Care chamber of the First Tier Tribunal. In Wales, the Tribunal remained the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales.

England - First-tier Tribunal



Practice Directions/Guidance

  • PD on Reports. Practice Direction: First-tier Tribunal Health Education and Social Care Chamber: Statements and Reports in Mental Health Cases (28/10/13) — This Practice Direction relates to the contents of reports required for mental health cases. In force 28/10/13 (superseding previous versions).
  • Medical examinations. Practice Direction and Guidance: Medical Examinations (11/3/14) — This document, dated 11/3/14, explains the regime in relation to medical examinations in cases received by the tribunal on or after 6/4/14. This page of the website contains a detailed summary of the changes.
  • Delegation of tribunal functions. Practice Statement: Delegation of Functions to Registrars, Tribunal Case Workers and Authorised Tribunal Staff on or after 8 July 2016 (7/7/16) — Supersedes Practice Statement: Delegation of Functions to Staff and to Registrars on or after 27 April 2015 (27/4/15).
  • Postponements and adjournments. Practice Guidance: Mental Health jurisdiction: Postponements and adjournments following recent changes in listing practice (published 18/7/14) — This document (dated June 2014, published 18/7/14) is based on internal guidance (in January 2014) to salaried tribunal judges and registrars which had set out factors which they 'may wish to take into account' when considering requests to postpone and adjourn a hearing.
  • Late reports. Tribunal Procedure: Failure to submit reports to the tribunal on time (17/4/15) — This letter to MHA Administrators sets out their duties in relation to an amended HQ1 form (which must be used from 5/5/15) and a related email to "stakeholders" sets out the duties of representatives. (1) The CNL1 letter will direct MHA Administrators to (a) provide contact details for all the responsible authority's witnesses, including any out-of-area social circumstances report author; (b) advise the tribunal if any details change; (c) certify that the information can be relied upon by the tribunal for service of directions and summonses. (2) When a report or statement is not received within the three-week deadline, a specific direction will be sent - generally by secure email - to the person at fault, requiring the evidence within 7 days, and warning that a referral may be made to the Upper Tribunal for consideration of a personal penalty. (3) If the required contact details have not been provided then any directions or summonses will be sent to the Chief Executive or Medical Director. (4) Representatives need only complete the patient details and listing parts of form HQ1 and, while form HQ2 is no longer required, the CNL2 letter will contain a reminder to (a) make representations if half a day is not a suitable time estimate; (b) inform the tribunal early if an interpreter is required; (c) use best endeavours to request any withdrawal at least two full working days before the hearing start time, and provide reasons for requests within that period.
  • Enforcement procedure. Practice Guidance: Enforcement Procedure, Directions and Summonses (24/7/17) — This document contains the following headings: (1) The Responsible Authority’s duty to provide its written evidence within 3 weeks; (2) The Responsible Authority’s duty to cooperate with the tribunal, and provide the full identity and secure contact details of its statement and report writers; (3) The Responsible Authority’s duty to arrange for the attendance of witnesses; (4) The Legal Representative’s Duties; (5) What will the tribunal do to enforce compliance? (6) The MH5 direction to a named person to immediately provide written evidence; (7) Failure to comply with a personal MH5 Direction to give written evidence; (8) Summonses.
  • Tribunal guidance for patients. HMCTS et al, 'Mental Health Tribunal: An Easy Read Guide' (22/7/20) — "This document will help explain what you can expect if you attend a face-to-face Mental Health Tribunal hearing."
  • Withdrawal guidance. Tribunal Policy: Withdrawals (23/2/15) — (1) Late withdrawals (where the request is received less than 48 hours, not counting non-working days, before the hearing) and "merely tactical" withdrawals ("such as where the case is part-heard, or if there are two cases that ought to be heard together and an attempt is made to withdraw one of them, or if an application for a postponement or adjournment has been made and refused and the withdrawal appears to be an attempt to get round the refusal") will be referred either to a registrar, salaried judge, or panel. (2) For late withdrawals: (a) the tribunal must be provided with full reasons why the patient wants to withdraw the application (and thus agrees to the continuation of detention or MHA order); (b) the tribunal will bear in mind that the need for, and right to, a periodic review of a patient's detention is an important safeguard which is necessary for Article 5 ECHR purposes, and which should not be abandoned lightly, especially if the hearing may achieve some good, and if in doubt the tribunal should refuse to consent. (3) Requests received after 4.30pm on the working day before the hearing will be considered by the panel.
  • Tribunal guidance on references. Mental Health Tribunal, 'SM v Livewell Southwest - new process for references' (30/6/21) — The DHSC has agreed to make an urgent reference on the day of a hearing when the tribunal find that the patient lacked capacity to make the application but the hearing should go ahead.
  • Devon case tribunal guidance. Mental Health Tribunal, 'Devon Partnership NHS Trust case and guidance on how to deal with issues arising from this case' (30/6/21) — If tribunal proceedings began in relation to an unlawful section (based on a remote assessment) but the patient now is on a new section and wishes the hearing to go ahead, the tribunal is likely to strike out the initial application/reference but facilitate the patient in making a new application. The guidance focusses on the patient making an application, rather than seeking a reference to preserve the right to make a later application (see Mental Health Tribunal, 'SM v Livewell Southwest - new process for references' (30/6/21) for the ability to seek an urgent reference in another context).

Other guidance

Older documents

Wales - MHRT for Wales

Rules and Practice Directions



  • Appeals go to the Upper Tribunal.

Other links

Upper Tribunal

First-tier and Upper Tribunals

Legal Action articles

Reproduced by kind permission.

Old rules

Related legislation

See also

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