Tribunal Rules

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On 3/11/08 the Tribunal systems in both England and Wales changed, but in different ways. In England, the Mental Health Review Tribunals were abolished and became part of the Health Education and Social Care chamber of the First Tier Tribunal. In Wales, the Tribunal remained the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales.

England - First-tier Tribunal Wales - MHRT for Wales
Rules and Practice Directions/Guidance
  • Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008 — These are the rules for the new Health, Education and Social Care Chamber which came into force on 3/11/08. This page was last updated on 16/8/15.
  • Practice Direction: First-tier Tribunal Health Education and Social Care Chamber: Statements and Reports in Mental Health Cases — This Practice Direction relates to the contents of reports required for mental health cases. In force 28/10/13 (superseding previous versions).
  • Practice Direction and Guidance: Medical Examinations [2014] MHLO 43 — This document, dated 11/3/14, explains the regime in relation to medical examinations in cases received by the tribunal on or after 6/4/14. This page of the website contains a detailed summary of the changes.
  • Practice Statement: Delegation of Functions to Staff and to Registrars on or after 27 April 2015 [2015] MHLO 36 — The Practice Statement sets out the functions which may be carried out by clerks and registrars at the Tribunal secretariat. It replaces Practice Statement: Delegation of Functions to Staff and to Registrars on or after 10 June 2014 [2014] MHLO 44. In force 27/4/15. The two changes are: (1) para 2(a) (in relation to standard non-compliance directions) now refers to "the defaulting person" rather than "the defaulting party"; and (2) para 2(c) (in relation to consent by clerks to withdrawal) now states "...subject to the notice of withdrawal being received by the tribunal 48 hours or more before the scheduled start time of the hearing of the application to the tribunal; and subject to the case not being part-heard, there being in existence no concurrent application or reference, and no other reason for tribunal staff to believe that consent to the withdrawal should be refused, such as it appearing that the withdrawal is merely tactical" (the "48 hour" text replaces "not later than 4.30pm on the day before any listed hearing" and the other italicised text is new). Superseded by: Practice Statement: Delegation of Functions to Registrars, Tribunal Case Workers and Authorised Tribunal Staff on or after 8 July 2016 (7/7/16).
  • Practice Guidance: Mental Health jurisdiction: Postponements and adjournments following recent changes in listing practice [2014] MHLO 48 — This document (dated June 2014, published 18/7/14) is based on internal guidance (in January 2014) to salaried tribunal judges and registrars which had set out factors which they 'may wish to take into account' when considering requests to postpone and adjourn a hearing.
  • Tribunal Procedure: Failure to submit reports to the tribunal on time (17 April 2015) [2015] MHLO 38 — This letter to MHA Administrators sets out their duties in relation to an amended HQ1 form (which must be used from 5/5/15) and a related email to "stakeholders" sets out the duties of representatives. (1) The CNL1 letter will direct MHA Administrators to (a) provide contact details for all the responsible authority's witnesses, including any out-of-area social circumstances report author; (b) advise the tribunal if any details change; (c) certify that the information can be relied upon by the tribunal for service of directions and summonses. (2) When a report or statement is not received within the three-week deadline, a specific direction will be sent - generally by secure email - to the person at fault, requiring the evidence within 7 days, and warning that a referral may be made to the Upper Tribunal for consideration of a personal penalty. (3) If the required contact details have not been provided then any directions or summonses will be sent to the Chief Executive or Medical Director. (4) Representatives need only complete the patient details and listing parts of form HQ1 and, while form HQ2 is no longer required, the CNL2 letter will contain a reminder to (a) make representations if half a day is not a suitable time estimate; (b) inform the tribunal early if an interpreter is required; (c) use best endeavours to request any withdrawal at least two full working days before the hearing start time, and provide reasons for requests within that period.
  • Practice Guidance: Enforcement Procedure, Directions and Summonses (24/7/17) — This document contains the following headings: (1) The Responsible Authority’s duty to provide its written evidence within 3 weeks; (2) The Responsible Authority’s duty to cooperate with the tribunal, and provide the full identity and secure contact details of its statement and report writers; (3) The Responsible Authority’s duty to arrange for the attendance of witnesses; (4) The Legal Representative’s Duties; (5) What will the tribunal do to enforce compliance? (6) The MH5 direction to a named person to immediately provide written evidence; (7) Failure to comply with a personal MH5 Direction to give written evidence; (8) Summonses.

Other guidance

Observation guidance This guidance has been superseded by Mental Health Tribunal, 'Guidance for the observation of tribunal hearings in the First-tier Tribunal Health Education and Social Care Chamber (mental health jurisdiction)' (10/1/19). It deals with the various categories of observers and the terms on which they may be permitted to attend tribunal hearings.

The guidance


The purpose of this guidance is to set down the terms and conditions for the observation of tribunal hearings, which are usually held in private, and for the appropriate handling of confidential reports and other documentary evidence.

The Tribunal Procedure Rules 2008

1. Rule 38(1) provides that all hearings must be held in private unless the tribunal considers that it is in the interests of justice for the hearing to be held in public. Rule 14(7) also provides that, unless the tribunal gives a direction to the contrary, information about mental health cases and the names of any persons concerned in such cases must not be made public. Where a hearing, or part of it, is to be held in private, the tribunal may determine who is permitted to attend the hearing or part of it (Rule 38(3)).

2. Except in relation to judge or member induction or training, appraisals, or observations by the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council (AJTC), the strong presumption in all cases is in favour of privacy and confidentiality, and individual tribunals should not exercise powers to hold proceedings in public, or disclose any information about mental health cases to others outside the jurisdiction (including to judges in other jurisdictions), without first consulting the Deputy Chamber President or, in his absence, the Principal Salaried Judge. Additionally, save as above, the views of the patient and/or the patient’s representative must be sought before any disclosure of relevant confidential information takes place, and any objections from the patient and/or the patient’s representative must be respected.

Categories of observers

Judge or Member Induction or Training

3. Following appointment as a judge or member of the tribunal, it is a term and condition of a person’s appointment that, unless they have adequate relevant previous experience, they should observe a number of tribunal hearings as part of their induction or training before they are entitled to sit. These observations have to be facilitated and, subject to the tribunal judge and the booking and listing team being made aware in advance, the following guidelines apply:-

3.1 The presence of the observer at the hearing is not subject to the consent of the patient, witnesses, individual tribunal members, or any other party. However, if the presence of the observer causes a patient to feel particular discomfort or distress, the observer and the ..→

Old documents

Rules and Practice Direction


Appeals go to the English Upper Tribunal.

Other links

England & Wales
Upper Tribunal

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeal Chamber) replaces judicial review in relation to Tribunal decisions.

First-tier and Upper Tribunals

Legal Action articles (reproduced by kind permission)

Old rules
Until 3/11/08, the Mental Health Review Tribunal Rules 1983 apply to the MHRT in both England and Wales.
Other external links

Related legislation

The following is an automatically-generated list of the pages in Category:Tribunal legislation:

This order, which came into force on 3/11/08, made under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 organises and sets out the functions of the various new Tribunal chambers. Revoked by the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Chambers) Order 2010.


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Type: UK Statutory Instrument ..→

This repealed the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Chambers) Order 2008 and was subsequently itself amended.


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Type: UK Statutory Instrument🔍

Year: 2010 ..→

Qualification for appointment.


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Type: UK Statutory Instrument🔍

Year: 2008🔍

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This states that "an application which challenges a procedural decision or a procedural ruling of the First-tier Tribunal" must be transferred by the (Scottish) Court of Session to the Upper Tribunal.