Standard Civil Contract 2014
Under the Standard Civil Contract 2014, commencing on 1 August 2014, all advocates, except external counsel, appearing before the Mental Health Tribunal must be members of the Law Society’s mental health accreditation scheme.
The current version of all Legal Aid forms should be used: they are available online via the Legal Aid forms page.
The mental health category covers civil legal services in relation to the Mental Health Act 1983 and Mental Capacity Act 2005. This includes tribunal advocacy. Details of which cases are included can be found in the Category Definitions 2014, and schedule 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012).
In order to bring all face-to-face civil contracts (except mediation) to the same start date, the LAA plan to extend some contracts (including mental health) to 31 March 2018 and to end others (including public law) early on the same date. The next contract, the Standard Civil Contract 2018, will commence on 1 September 2018.
To obtain Legal Aid funding, a representative must have a contract under LASPO 2012 covering mental health law, and there is no ECHR right to publicly-funded representation for a lawyer of choice (R (Brady) v Lord Chancellor  EWHC 410 (Admin),  MHLO 21).