Legal terms are used as they appear in the Mental Health Act 1983 and other legislation. Some people find these terms inappropriate, even offensive, but they are used here for the sake of legal accuracy. To keep this guide as straightforward as possible, we have kept technical terms to a minimum and summarised the effects of the law and good practice, where appropriate. Where we use section numbers, they are from the Mental Health Act 1983.
Release from custody, with or without conditions, under the strict duty that you must return at a specific time and date.
Care Quality Commission
The statutory body responsible for the welfare of detained patients in England.
Deals with more serious criminal cases, such as murder or robbery, some of which have been referred by the Magistrates’ courts (see below). Trials are heard by a judge and jury.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
Public office responsible for ensuring a prosecution is brought to court only if there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest.
Healthcare Inspectorate Wales
The mandatory body responsible for the welfare of detained patients in Wales.
This type of court generally deals with more minor offences, referring more serious offences to the Crown Court (see above).
Defined in section 145(4), in relation to 'mental disorder' in section 1 as 'medical treatment the purpose of which is to alleviate, or prevent a worsening of the disorder or one or more of its symptoms or manifestations'.
Defined in section 1 of the Mental Health Act 1983, as now amended by the Mental Health Act 2007, as, 'any disorder or disability of the mind'. However, for the purposes of section 1, those with a 'learning disability' are only considered to have a 'mental disorder' if their disability is 'associated with abnormally aggressive or grossly irresponsible behaviour.'
Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983
The main Act of Parliament covering the care and treatment of people with mental health problems.
Mental Health Act 2007
An Act amending the Mental Health Act 1983.
Mental Health Act Code of Practice
The statutory Code guiding professionals in the use of the Mental Health Act 1983.
Mental Health Tribunal
An independent panel that decides if a patient should remain subject to detention under the Mental Health Act 1983.
Ministry of Justice
Government department responsible for courts, prisons, probation services and attendance centres.
Registered medical practitioner
A qualified doctor; for example a GP or a psychiatrist.
The approved clinician with overall responsibility for the case of the patient. This person will not necessarily be a registered medical practitioner.