About Mental Health Tribunals

A Mental Health Tribunal is an independent judicial process, which in England and Wales exists to review whether it is appropriate for persons (patients) to continue to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

The Tribunal panel is composed of three members appointed by the Ministry of Justice and consists of a lawyer, a psychiatrist and a specialist lay member. Tribunals take place most usually in the hospital where a patient is detained or sometimes in a community venue where the patient is treated in the community.

The Tribunal panel convene at the appointed venue, consider a number of reports prepared by the detaining authority and hear evidence from witnesses for the detaining authority, the patient and witnesses in support of the patient’s application. The decision is then made in private and is often given to the parties attending on the day and in any event given in writing within a set timescale soon thereafter.