For those people who are detained in hospital due to their mental health, if they wish to challenge their detention under the Mental Health Act, they have a right to free legal representation. A revised guidance note has recently been issued by the Law Society, this explains changes in case law, in procedural and other rules, and in the Solicitors Regulation Authority code of conduct.
The guidance refers to communicating and taking instructions from the client; the practitioner’s duties of confidentiality and disclosure; the representation of children and young people; and good tribunal practice.
The guidance identifies that, given the vulnerable state of mind of their clients, the legal representative should present information in a clear and straightforward manner. They should allow extra time to explain issues and, if necessary, see their clients well ahead of a hearing so as to minimise confusion on the day. And they should also ensure clients have timely access to information, such as expert reports, where necessary.
The Tribunal is not only stressful for the person detained but also the families of those in hospital. It is therefore essential that the legal representatives follow and take note of the recent revised guidance to ensure that the patient gets the best possible representation.
If you or a family member needs to speak to a member of our Mental Health team contact Leanne on 01636 594460 or contact one of our offices across Lincolnshire and Newark.