The Commission is responsible for operating the mental health tribunal process which vindicates the rights of patients who are involuntarily detained.
Under the Mental Health Acts 2001-2018 (the 2001 Act) every adult who is involuntarily detained in an approved centre will have their detention order referred to a mental health tribunal (tribunal) to be reviewed. An approved centre is a mental health unit that is registered by the Mental Health Commission.
The 2001 Act sets out how this mandatory system of independent review operates. The independent review must be carried out by tribunal within 21 days of the making of the order to detain an individual.
Involuntarily detained patients are persons who are deemed to have a mental disorder and are admitted and detained against their will in an approved centre, on an admission or renewal order
Every detained patient has a right to a legal representative (covered by legal aid). Legal representatives are assigned by the Commission. A patient may ask for a different legal representative from the MHC’s panel or appoint their own private solicitor.
The Commission also arranges for an independent consultant psychiatrist to provide a report on the patient’s mental health for the tribunal and the patient’s legal representative.
Any order made to detain a patient must be sent to the Commission with 24 hours.