Update No. 2: coronavirus guidance for Mental Health Tribunal hearings

New updated guidance has been published by the Tribunal Service since our earlier blog on the Mental Health Pilot Practice Direction. The latest Tribunal guidance dated 2 April focuses on hearings being conducted by telephone.

Guidance for Tribunal users joining telephone hearings

Key points to note

  • All face to face hearings have been changed to telephone hearings for the foreseeable future.
  • You must supply the Tribunal with a telephone number for the patient, who will telephone the patient at the beginning of the hearing. This should be provided no later than 6 days before the hearing. For section 2 patients, it should be 24 hours before the All other parties will receive joining instructions when they receive a new hearing notice.
  • Any telephone handset can be used. If Tribunal users do not have access to a telephone, this should be put in writing to the Tribunal for them to consider.
  • The MHA must submit reports no later than 24 hours before a hearing.
  • Nearest Relatives can join the hearing and will be sent a form. They must provide their number so the judge can telephone them.

The guidance addresses telephone hearings only. There is no mention of video conferencing facilities, as we have seen in other jurisdictions. It is currently unclear whether video hearings will be viable.

If you have any queries in relation to Tribunal hearings or wider mental health queries please do contact Molly Sanghera or a member of the team.

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