Legal rights

Our information resources are aimed at adults living in England or Wales who have direct experience of mental health problems. The legal information in these guides does not apply to children unless specifically stated.

Advocacy

Explains when you have a legal right to support from an advocate and what they can help with. Covers:

  • Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs)
  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs)
  • Social care advocates

Agreeing to treatment

Explains your rights to agree to (or refuse) treatment, including what 'consent' means, when you can be treated without your consent, and how to make a complaint. Applies to England and Wales.

Clinical negligence

A brief legal guide to clinical negligence, including details of where you can go for further information or support.

Community treatment orders (CTOs)

Explains what a community treatment order is, how it affects you and how you can change or end it.

Complaining about health and social care

A brief legal guide to complaining about health and social care in England or Wales, including details of where you can go for further information or support.

Courts and mental health

Explains what may happen if you are charged with committing a crime, what happens when you to go court, and how your mental health is taken into account.

Disability discrimination

A general guide on how you are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act and what your rights are.

Discrimination when buying, renting or living in property

Explains what laws protect you from discrimination when you buy, rent, or live in a property (or place), what you can do if you have been discriminated against, and where you can get support and advice.

Discrimination in everyday life

Explains the law that protects you from discrimination when you use services or public functions, what you can do if you have been discriminated against and where you can get support and advice.

Discrimination at work

Explains what laws protect you from discrimination at work, what you can do if you are discriminated against, and where you can get support and advice.

Fitness to drive

Explains the rights that you have to drive, what information you need to tell the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and how to appeal if your driving licence is taken away.

Insurance cover

Explains whether insurance providers can charge you more because of your mental health problem, if they can see your medical records, and how to complain about unfair treatment.

Health and social care rights

Explains your rights to social care, and how this differs from healthcare. Includes information on eligibility, needs assessments, financial assessments, and how local authorities may meet your needs through personal budgets or direct payments.

Human Rights Act 1998

A general guide to the Human Rights Act, with information about your human rights and what you can do if someone doesn’t respect them.

Leaving hospital

Explains the rights you have to get your section lifted if you are being detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, and your rights to care and support after leaving hospital.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

A general guide on how the Mental Capacity Act affects you and how you can plan ahead for when you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.

Mental Health Act 1983

An overview of your rights under the Mental Health Act. Includes FAQs, explanations of legal terms and links to further information and support.

Nearest relative

Explains what a nearest relative is, including what powers and rights they have and how you can change your nearest relative.

Personal information

Explains your rights to see and have copies of your personal information, and how to complain if access to your records is refused or if what is written about you is wrong.

Police and mental health

Explains when you may have contact with the police, what happens if you are arrested and what your rights are if you are taken to the police station. Applies to England and Wales.

Sectioning

Explains the rights that you have if you are sectioned and detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Voluntary patients

Explains your rights if you are having treatment in hospital as a voluntary patient. Applies to England and Wales.

Working with children and vulnerable adults

Explains what a DBS check is and what you can do if you are unhappy with the information held about you by the police.

Mental Health A-Z

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