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.
Your responsible clinician can stop you from being discharged by issuing a barring report if he or she thinks that you are likely to be a danger to yourself, or others, if discharged.
If a barring report has been issued, then your nearest relative must be informed and they will not be able to apply for your discharge for the next six months.
However, if you are on a section 3 or a CTO, your nearest relative can apply to the Mental Health Tribunal within 28 days of the barring report. Also, the hospital managers should consider holding a review after any barring report has been issued.
See our pages on the nearest relative for more information, including a flowchart of this process.
Community treatment order (CTO)
If you have been sectioned and treated in hospital under certain sections, your responsible clinician can put you on a CTO. This means that you can be discharged from the section and leave hospital, but you might have to meet certain conditions such as living in a certain place, or going somewhere for medical treatment. Sometimes, if you don't follow the conditions or you become unwell, you can be returned to hospital.
See our pages on CTOs for more information.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This is where someone called a 'guardian' is appointed instead of being sectioned and kept in hospital. Your guardian could be a person or a local authority.
You can only be placed under guardianship if it's necessary for your welfare or to protect other people. Your guardian has the power to make certain decisions about you and to make conditions that you will be asked to keep to, such as where you live.
Guardianship lasts for up to six months and can be renewed: initially for a further six months, and then for a year at a time. You can appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal once in each of these periods.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
Mental Health Tribunal (MHT)
This is a special court that deals with cases relating to the Mental Health Act 1983. The Tribunal decides whether you can be discharged from your section. It can sometimes make recommendations about matters such as hospital leave, transfer to another hospital, guardianship and community treatment orders (CTOs).
The court is made of a panel, which normally includes:
- a legally qualified chairperson
- a ‘lay member’ who has appropriate experience and qualifications in the area of mental health
- an independent psychiatrist, who will speak to you and examine you before the tribunal hearing in certain circumstances, and when you request to see them
Where you see a reference to the Mental Health Tribunal in this guide, it means:
- First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health), if you live in England, or
- Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales, if you live in Wales.
This information was published in July 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.