Tribunal Procedure Committee, 'Proposal to amend the Tribunal Procedure (First-Tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008' (consultation from 22/3/18 to 11/6/18)

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Organisation Tribunal Procedure Committee🔍
Description

The MOJ, with support from the senior HESC judiciary, proposed that: (1) preliminary medical examinations should be abolished; and (2) mandatory references for adult patients, unless a party requests or the tribunal directs an oral hearing, should be determined by a paper review procedure. Following consultation, the Tribunal Procedure Committee roundly rejected the proposal.

Consultation documents

Papers released under the Freedom of Information Act

TPC Minutes

Response

  • TPC, 'Responses to the consultation on possible changes to the Tribunal Procedure (FTT) (HESC) Rules 2008 regarding pre-hearing examinations and decisions without a hearing in the case of references by the hospital or Department of Health' (23/10/18) — One interesting response, of many, is this from an MHT judge: "If cases are decided on papers alone, I can see little point in having those cases referred to the Tribunal. I have done a number of paper hearings and they are unsatisfactory." The TPC noted the following points and in consequence rejected the proposed rule changes: (1) The PHE provides for greater participation in the process by the patient. (2) The PHE reduces stress and anxiety at the hearing for the patient who will not need to be asked distressing questions. (3) The PHE allows the patient to talk about their situation privately to a person not involved in their detention. (4) The PHE allows for information missing from reports to be picked up. (5) The PHE is a lesser cost to the public purse than independent psychiatric reports. (6) The High Court has confirmed that there is no reason why the MM cannot carry out a PHE, provided the findings are disclosed at the outset of the hearing as they are currently. (7) Having a second medical opinion to assist the panel reduces the possibility of the wrong decision being made, thus reducing the risk to both the patient and the general public. (8) The system in England is not comparable to the Scottish system which operates in a fundamentally different way. (9) In Wales PHEs are carried out in every case and there are no current plans to alter that. (10) The outcome of MHTs cannot be measured by the numbers discharged but by whether the patient and their representative are satisfied that the case has been properly scrutinised with all relevant evidence before it. (11) Those who have their cases referred to the MHT are the most vulnerable members of society, often lacking the mental capacity to make an application to the MHT. (12) Disposals without a hearing would mean that the MHT panel would have evidence from only one party. (13) The MHT panel would not have adequate information to decide whether an oral hearing is appropriate. (14) There are a significant number of examples of MHTs reaching a decision on referred cases based on evidence that came out at the hearing and not contained in the reports.
Detail
Opened 2018/03/22
Closes 2018/06/10