Similar to the rest of the world Ringrose Law’s Mental Health department has been in lockdown due to Covid-19 and having to stay at home upturned the way in which the mental health department has operated. Typically, we would be travelling all over the Midlands, including Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Northampton, Norfolk, Peterborough, Doncaster and more, visiting client in units, representing at Mental Health Tribunals, attending Care Planning meetings (CPA’s) and Hospital Managers’ hearings. Only now are we starting to resume meetings and appointments.

Although difficult at first, it was crucial for Ringrose Law to adapt to remote working to ensure clients’ needs were met and they were effectively represented throughout this global crisis.

New Clients

Despite facing a new way of working the Ringrose Law Mental health department continue to take on new clients who need advice and support in relation to their detention. Initial sign ups have been done via phone to allow clients to discuss with the representative about their case, any issues and how Ringrose Law can support them.  Despite not being able to visits clients Ringrose Law has still been able to maintain a client focused approach and ensure they are well advised and represented.

CPA’s and Hospital Managers Hearings

Part of the services which the Mental Health department provide is attendance at important care meetings and representation at Hospital Managers Hearings.  Similar to Tribunal Hearings these initially were via telephone conference call but have now moved to being through a video link on Microsoft teams.

Although being on video is different it has not affected the standard of the representation provided by Ringrose Law and effective and substantial communication with the client has been able to be maintained despite being remote.

Tribunal Hearings

Tribunals were initially held by way of a telephone conference to enable access to justice for those who were detained to have their cases considered by the independent tribunal, albeit remotely. However, it soon became apparent that this method caused delay and it made communication very difficult. At this time the Tribunal also had to prioritise urgent hearings which did cause a delay.

As a result, the Tribunals are now scheduled to take place by way of a video conference, this means that the individual making the application can now see and hear the panel, their representative and the clinical team presenting the medical evidence. This has without doubt helped to make individuals making the application feel more at ease and for them and the other parties involved to communicate more effectively.

The independent tribunal panel is still made up the Judge, specialist member and independent Doctor who hear evidence from all the parties involved before making their decision. The Judges are all trained to use the video system to try and ensure that applications are dealt with efficiently and effectively. A secure system is used to facilitate the video hearings to provide security and confidentiality of those who are participating.

Our Mental Health team at Ringrose Law are continually working to ensure that the process is as smooth and stress free for our clients as possible.

Returning to normal?

As things slowly return to normality the Mental Health department too are making changes. Although hearings are looking to continue being via video for the time being, we are starting to get back to visiting clients.

Depending on the individual hospital policy our representatives are now being able to meet with clients for initial sign ups and meetings. With safety a priority our representatives are equipped with PPE and are following strict social distancing rules.

We can help

At Ringrose Law’s Mental Health department, we represent people who are detained under the Mental Health Act or their Nearest Relative.

If you or someone you know would like any support or information, please get in contact at 01529 301300 and ask for the mental health team or email at mental.health@ringroselaw.co.uk.

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