The Mental Health Review Tribunal has issued Practice Direction Number 1 of 2022, which provides clarity on attendance at tribunal hearings.
Key items in the comprehensive practice direction, issued by tribunal President Annette McMullan, include:
- Legal representatives are granted standing approval to appear via audio-visual link, but should make known to the tribunal their intended mode of attendance for a hearing in advance.
- Where the patient is attending a hearing in person, it is expected that the legal representative will appear in-person with their client.
- Where a legal representative is confident that in all the circumstances an adjournment of the matter will be required because a clinical report has not been received by the tribunal at least two days prior to the tribunal, the legal representative can email the tribunal to seek permission to attend the hearing by telephone. Prior approval must be granted by the tribunal to appear by audio (that is, telephone) only.
- Where written submissions contain a request for a particular member of the treating team to attend the hearing or for permission from the tribunal to attend by phone, the legal representative should note this information in the covering email.