The role of the mental health lawyer
The main role of the mental health lawyer is to represent patients at Mental Health Tribunals. Other work can include representation at hospital managers' hearings, in the Court of Protection, at Parole Board hearings and in judicial review proceedings.
A typical Mental Health Tribunal case, where the client wishes to appeal against his detention, will involve the following:
- Being contacted by the client or a third party.
- First visit to client to take initial instructions.
- Reading medical records and checking section papers.
- Viewing medical, social circumstances, and nursing reports.
- Taking further instructions.
- Consideration of instruction of independent experts, usually psychiatric.
- Representation of client at Tribunal.
- Discussion and consideration of Tribunal reasons.