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Being detained in hospital without your consent can be extremely stressful. Please see below for a summary of the types of detentions we can assist you with. 

Short Term Detention

A doctor with experience in diagnosing and treating mental disorder (a psychiatrist), who has examined you, may make a short-term detention certificate (STDC) where he/she believes it is likely that: 

  • You have a mental disorder; and 

  • Your ability to make decisions about medical treatment is significantly impaired, as a result of your mental disorder; and 

  • It is necessary to detain you in hospital, to help decide what medical treatment you need and to give you that treatment; and 

  • If you were not detained in hospital, there would be a significant risk to you, or to other people; and 

  • Granting a short-term detention certificate is necessary. 


You can be kept in hospital for 28 days once a STDC has been granted.  This can be extended if necessary. 

You will be assessed and may receive treatment while you are detained in hospital.  You can be given medication without your consent.  You will have a Responsible Medical Officer (RMO) appointed to your case.  If you do not already have one you will be appointed a Mental Health Officer (MHO). 

The RMO will keep your condition under review and he may decide to 

  • release you and revoke the STDC 

  • ask you to remain in the hospital as a voluntary patient to continue treatment and revoke the STDC 

  • seek a Compulsory Treatment Order to detain you for a longer period in the hospital 


If you wish to appeal the STDC you should contact a solicitor immediately.  At MacBeath Family Law we can assist you in appealing the determination of the short term detention order at the Mental Health Tribunal.

You will automatically be entitled to legal aid to pay for the costs incurred in appealing at STDC.

Compulsory Treatment Orders

If your Mental Health Officer (MHO) feels that measures need to be put in place to continue your treatment for your mental health condition they will apply to the Mental Health Tribunal for a Compulsory Treatment Order. 

The CTO will set out a number of conditions that the Mental Health Officer and Responsible Medical Officer (RMO) thinks will assist in the treatment of your condition.  One of these conditions may be that you require to remain in hospital.  Another likely condition of a CTO is that you will take medication.  


You will be informed if a CTO has been applied for and you will receive paperwork containing a proposed treatment plan and a date for a hearing at the Tribunal to take place. 


The Tribunal decides whether a CTO should be granted. The Tribunal is made up of three people.  You have the right to make your views heard by the Tribunal.  You are entitled to be represented at the Tribunal hearing by a solicitor. 


If granted a CTO can last up to six months. It can be extended for a further six months and then for periods of 12 months at a time. 


If a CTO has been applied for, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible so that they can meet with you and prepare your case ahead of the Tribunal hearing.  If however, a CTO has been granted at a Tribunal hearing and you did not have a solicitor present you can seek to revoke the CTO.  You can apply to the Tribunal to remove the CTO once it has been in force for 3 months.    


At MacBeath Family Law we can help you to understand your rights and to make your views known to the Tribunal.  Contact us now to arrange a suitable appointment.  We will come to the hospital to meet with you and take your instructions. 


You will automatically be entitled to legal aid to pay for the costs incurred by instructing a solicitor to attend a Tribunal. 

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