Patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (and nearest relatives) have the power to apply for a Tribunal hearing in respect of their detention. In addition, any person may ask the Secretary of State to consider referring a case to the Tribunal. The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance on how requests can be made to him to refer a matter to the FTT. This power is available in respect of: 

  • any patient detained in hospital as a result of an application for assessment or treatment under sections 2, 3 or 4 of the MHA.
  • most patients detained in hospital by the courts or as a result of being transferred by the Secretary of State for Justice from prison – except restricted patients
  • any patient on supervised community treatment (community treatment orders) under the MHA.
  • any patient subject to guardianship under the MHA.

Referrals using the s. 67 process are most common where: 

  • a patient detained under s. 2 misses the 14-day deadline for applying to the Tribunal through no fault of their own and there is still time for a hearing to be arranged before the s. 2 is due to expire
  • a patient’s detention under s. 2 has been extended pending resolution of proceedings under s. 29 to displace their nearest relative (the act does not give patients the right to apply directly to the Tribunal in these circumstances)

Requests for a referral need to be made in writing, explain why a Secretary of State’s reference under section 67 is being sought, and accompanied by a completed copy of Tribunal referral form T111 - but the form should not be signed or dated. The form can then be emailed to mentalhealthact2007@dhsc.gov.uk   

For advice on matters relating to the Mental Health Act, please contact us.