Mental Health

Our experienced Mental Health Department offers advice and guidance to people who are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended by the 2007 Act).

We advise on all aspects of Mental Health law to patients and their relatives, including:

  • Legal representation before the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health)
  • Attendance at Hospital Managers hearings
  • Section 117 and Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings
  • Assistance with issues with treatment and progress both in hospital and in the community.
  • Assistance with applications for Judicial Review to challenge unlawful detention.
  • The vast majority of our legal advice is available entirely free of charge to clients though legal aid. See our costs page or contact us for more details.

Our clients are amongst the most vulnerable people in society, which is why we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of advice and support at all times. Compulsory detention under the Mental Health Act can be a deeply distressing event both for the patient and their relatives. We pride ourselves on building a relationship of trust with each and every client and achieving a positive outcome for our clients.

The team are able to act in emergency situations and at very short notice, our Mental Health Department is headed by accredited member Rajan Nakrani who is based in our Camberwell Green office in London and he mainly assists client in hospitals across London and neighbouring counties in the South of England. The Mental Health Team are based in both the Camberwell Green office and the Leeds office in the North West of England. The team assist clients of all ages and from all backgrounds in hospitals of varying levels of security and in residential homes. Our team are willing to take instructions from clients right across the country and have experience in assisting clients with very complex issues.

If you would like to discuss the work that we do further, please contact a member of our team. Alternatively, you can make an online enquiry and we will respond at the earliest opportunity.

Most individuals detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983, or who are subject to a section in the community, have the right to apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for a review of their case. In some instances, their Nearest Relatives can also apply. We have a number of experienced lawyers who can advise patients and their Nearest Relatives of their rights and who can represent them at the Tribunal. We can also assist in appealing the Decisions of the First-Tier Tribunal, and can represent clients in the Upper-Tier Tribunal. Our experienced lawyers are Accredited by the Law Society to represent clients at the Tribunal.

Whether you are seeking to be discharged from hospital, transferred elsewhere, or to be given greater access to the community, we will approach your case with sensitivity and understanding, and we will provide you with quality advice and representation.

For detained patients in hospital, we may be able to act on your behalf to question the clinical team on whether you are being provided with appropriate treatment whilst under the Mental Health Act.

We can deal with this in Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings, at Tribunal hearings as well as in Hospital Managers hearings. On particular occasions we also attend ward rounds to liaise with your team and put forward your views. We have in the past successfully challenged the appropriateness of treatment provided and consequently patients have been discharged.

We can also advocate on your behalf in relation to your care plan, for example requests for S.17 leave and requests for referrals to occupational therapy, including activities of daily living (ADL) assessments, work rehabilitation where appropriate. This often helps the clinical team assess any risks and then formulate plans for your eventual discharge into the community.

If you have been detained under Section 3 or Section 37 of the Mental Health Act or have been made subject to a transfer direction from prison to hospital you are entitled to Section 117 aftercare. This means that when you leave hospital the relevant clinical commissioning group and the local social services authority has a duty to provide you with aftercare until they decide it is no longer required.

Aftercare should be free of charge and should cover any assessed needs. Aftercare may include specialist accommodation, support from a community psychiatric nurse, free prescriptions and the use of day centres.

If you have not been provided with aftercare or if aftercare has been withdrawn we can advise and assist you to make a formal complaint or to take legal action by applying to the court to judicially review decisions made by the clinical commissioning group or local authority.

Occasionally problems can arise in respect of identifying which local authority is responsible for providing and funding aftercare. Out team is experienced in advising on this complex area of law and taking legal action when necessary.

If you have health needs but have not been detained under the relevant sections of the Mental Health Act you may still be able to get some support and assistance in the community. We invite you to contact our community care team who will be able to advise you about this.

Our mental health team have vast experience in claims for unlawful detention. Unlawful detention arises in situations where a patient is detained in hospital without the appropriate legal formalities being complied with.

During any mental health tribunal appeal process, our team will always assess the legality of a clients section papers to ensure that that have been completed correctly.

One recent challenge from our team resulted in the relevant NHS authority admitting liability for the client’s unlawful detention. The client was detained in hospital without lawful authority under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Please contact the Mental Health Team if you require advice and assistance in challenging unlawful detention.

Funding for representation at First Tier Tribunals is free of charge and we are therefore able to represent all clients under Public funding (Legal Aid).

Funding for assistance at CPA Meetings, Hospital Managers Hearings and other mental health matters such as medication or leave is undertaken on a public funding (Legal Aid) basis subject to an assessment of your income and capital. You may be entitled to free legal advice.

Please do not hesitate to contact us and we can provide you with further details.