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Human Rights and Mental Health Tribunals

Irish Association of Social Workers
Learning from each other; Critical Reflections on the intersections between the Mental Health Act 2001 and Human Rights.
Dublin, February 2019

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Human Rights and Mental Health Tribunals

  1. 1. 1IASW - Critical Reflections on Intersections between the Mental Health Act 2001 and Human Rights, Dublin, February 2019
  2. 2. 2 1 2 3 4 5
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  4. 4. 4 Chairperson: Barrister / Solicitor Consultant Psychiatrist Another Person
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  6. 6. Role in transfers to Central Mental Hospital [Rare] Role in decisions concerning psycho-surgery [not done in practice] Treatment / medication decisions Criminal matters – separate Review Board 6
  7. 7. Tribunal has limited powers – only two main choices: confirm or revoke order To affirm the order, s.18 states that the MHT must be satisfied that • the service user (patient) is “suffering from a mental disorder” and that • certain procedures have been complied with, or, “if there has been a failure to comply with [these procedures], that the failure does not affect the substance of the order and does not cause an injustice” 7
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  9. 9. In Circuit Court appeals, the Act appears to place burden of proof on service user It was argued that this breached the ECHR O’Keeffe J.: S.19 merely states that appellant must prove his/her case However, this interpretation is questionable 9 St Brigid’s Hospital, Ballinasloe. Picture: Gerry Stronge, Connacht Tribune
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  11. 11. [It was later made available in Sept. 2017] 11
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  14. 14. No new renewal orders for 12 months If a person is detained for 6 months, he/she can apply for a review after 3 months 14
  15. 15. Case concerned Mercy Hospital, Cork Independent psychiatrist attempted to telephone psychiatrist at centre but got no answer; he was told that she was ill MHT was informed of this but decided that, as it had no doubt as to service user’s (patient’s) mental disorder, detention would be affirmed Peart J. - Failure to interview the RCP before submitting report to tribunal was not such as to render report invalid for purpose of s. 17 Defect in report is not so fundamental as to invalidate report to extent that the tribunal could not be entitled to have regard to it. 15
  16. 16. I. Georgieva, E. Bainbridge, D. McGuinness, M. Keys, L. Brosnan, H. Felzmann, J. Maguire, K. Murphy, A. Higgins, C. McDonald and B. Hallahan 16
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  20. 20. Currently, cases concerning involuntary admission of children are dealt with by the District Court – s.25 Mental Health Act 2001 Would a tribunal be a more appropriate forum? See Law Reform Commission, Report on Children and the Law: Medical Treatment (LRC 103, 2011) Children
  21. 21. http://bit.ly/mh-3311 http://bit.ly/mh-7070 21
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  24. 24. (Mental Health(Amendment) Act 2018 – not yet commenced) 24
  25. 25. 25 3 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
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  30. 30. — McMahon J., S.M. v Mental Health Commission (2008) 30
  31. 31. 31 Proposed Reforms in the Expert Group Report (2015) 5
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  34. 34. d . w he lan@ u cc.i e

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