Overview of the Tribunal

The Mental Health Tribunal is an independent decision-making body established by the Mental Health Act 2014 (WA).  Parliament created the Tribunal to protect patients from potential abuse of the powers under the Act.

The Mental Health Act permits psychiatrists in Western Australia to treat certain patients without their consent.  The Act refers to these patients as ‘involuntary patients’.  A psychiatrist makes a patient ‘involuntary’ by making an ‘involuntary treatment order’.

The Tribunal’s main job is to review every new involuntary treatment order made by psychiatrists in Western Australia within 35 days (10 days for children).  The Tribunal reviews each order again regularly (every three months for adults and every 28 days for children).  The purpose of the Tribunal’s review is to determine whether the patient still needs the involuntary treatment order.

The Tribunal can also decide other questions under the Act.  Patients or treating teams can ask the Tribunal to decide these questions by filling out a form (an application).

The Tribunal makes decisions based on information provided at a hearing.  A hearing is a meeting where the Tribunal listens to participants’ views and then makes a decision. The Tribunal usually holds its hearings at the hospital or health service treating the patient.  This is for the convenience of participants only.  The Tribunal is independent and is not part of the treating team or the health service.

The Tribunal expects the patient’s psychiatrist and treating team to attend the hearing. The Tribunal also strongly encourages patients and their families to attend the hearing.  Patients may bring an advocate or a lawyer to speak for them if they choose.

At the end of the hearing, the Tribunal decides whether the patient still needs the involuntary treatment order.  The Tribunal tells the patient its decision, and the reasons for its decision.


Page reviewed 25 July 2019