Mental Health Court - criminal
Appeals from Mental Health Review Tribunal decisions
The Mental Health Court hears appeals against decisions of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
These appeal proceedings are not open to the public.
What decisions can be appealed?
The following tribunal decisions can be appealed:
- a review decision
- a decision on a treatment application
- a decision to allow a patient to move out of Queensland.
Who may appeal?
Appeals against tribunal decisions can be made by:
- a party to the proceeding
- a person acting on behalf of the patient who was the subject of the decision
- the Director of Mental Health.
How is the appeal process started?
An appeal is started by filing a Form 4 – Notice of appeal (MHA) at the Mental Health Court registry.
The notice of appeal must state the grounds of appeal and the facts relied on. It must be lodged with the court registry within 60 days after the written notice of the tribunal’s decision is received.
If the appellant is the Director of Mental Health, the notice of appeal must be lodged with the registry within 60 days after the tribunal’s decision.
Can I ask for a stay (suspension) of the tribunal’s decision?
You can request a stay in any appeal against a tribunal decision.
If the stay is granted, the tribunal’s decision cannot take effect until the court hears the appeal and makes its decision.
If the stay is not granted, the tribunal’s decision will remain in effect until the court makes its decision on the appeal.
Can an appeal be withdrawn?
An appeal can be withdrawn by filing a Form 11 – Application to withdraw appeal (MHA) in the court registry before the Mental Health Court makes its decision.
Does the court have the power to order an examination of the patient?
The court may order the patient (who is the subject of the appeal) to submit to an examination by a court-nominated psychiatrist or health practitioner. The practitioner must provide a written report to the court that documents their examination of the patient.
What material is considered by the court?
The court will re-hear the case and refer to the material that was available to the tribunal and any further evidence permitted by the court.
Can someone attend to help the patient express their views?
A support person may attend to help the patient express their views, wishes and interests.
A support person is not a party to the proceeding and may be the patient’s allied person who advocates on their behalf or some other person granted leave to attend by the court.
Who can appear at the hearing?
Any party to the proceeding has a right to appear. The following people may appear in person or may be represented at the hearing by a lawyer or, with the leave of the court, an agent.
Decisions on reviews:
- the patient
- the Director of Mental Health (if the appellant is the director or if the director elects to become a party to the appeal)
- the Attorney-General (if the subject of the appeal is a forensic patient).
Decisions on treatment:
- the applicant for treatment (the treating doctor)
- the person who is the subject of the treatment
- the Director of Mental Health (if the director elects to become a party to the appeal)
Decisions on applications for a patient to move out of Queensland:
- the patient
- the Director of Mental Health
- the Attorney-General.
Expert witnesses may also be called to give evidence.
What decisions can the court make in an appeal?
An an appeal, the court may dismiss or uphold the tribunal’s decision.
The court may also make new orders if a decision is made to uphold the appeal.
The decision of the court is final. It cannot be appealed against, reviewed, quashed or invalidated in any court.