Mental Health Law Practice

QPILCH Mental Health Law Practice (MHLP) provides free legal advice and assistance to people with mental illness, or impacted by mental health law who cannot afford a private lawyer.

In some cases, we can also assist people with other civil law problems such as debts, or tenancy. We cannot provide advice on criminal law or family law because we do not have expertise in these areas.

Our services include:

Advice on issues under the Mental Health Act (including the Tribunal Advocacy Service)

The MHLP assists people with ITO hearings throughout Queensland through our free Tribunal Advocacy Service. Through this service, we assist people to prepare for hearings, to present their views to the Mental Health Review Tribunal and advocate on their behalf at their hearing. We have a panel of trained, independent volunteers who provide assistance and advocacy to people with ITO hearings in the Tribunal. Generally, we require at least 7 days notice to arrange an advocate to assist with a hearing.

The MHLP also provides direct advice to people throughout Queensland about issues arising under the Mental Health Act including:

  • Involuntary treatment orders (ITOs);
  • ECT applications;
  • Justice Examination Orders; and
  • Other legal issues arising out of the application of mental health law.

This includes advice about your rights under the Mental Health Act, right to information applications etc. This service is mainly conducted by telephone and through written advice. You do not need to fill in a QPILCH application form to access our service.You can contact us on (07) 3846 6317. We prioritise inpatients and callers with upcoming hearings at the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Assistance with other civil law issues

We may be able to help you with other civil law problems, such as:

  • Centrelink or other social security issues;
  • Consumer issues;
  • Debts, loan agreements and bankruptcy;
  • Discrimination;
  • Employment;
  • Fines, infringement notices and enforcement warrants issued by the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry (SPER);
  • Guardianship or administration issues;
  • Housing and tenancy issues; and
  • Police powers.

Depending on our capacity, we may be able to assist you with these issues directly or through one of QPILCH's Outreach Legal Clinics or through pro-bono referral.

Who We Cannot Help

  • Police officers, ambulance officers, psychiatrists, nurses or community workers who are seeking information about how to make an Emergency Examination Order or any other mental health law issue relating to their employment in the mental health sector.
  • Family, friends or community workers on behalf of patients who are able to provide us with direct instructions or who are seeking information about how to apply for a Justices Examination Order.
  • People on forensic orders or with a restrictive practices issue. Please contact Queensland Advocacy Incorporated on 07 3844 4200 for assistance with these issues.
  • People with a criminal law or family law issue. Please contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 651 188 for assistance with these issues.

Princess Alexandra Hospital Outreach

We also conduct a fortnightly face-to-face outreach service at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. If you are a patient at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and need advice or assistance with any of the above issues, you can ask Hospital staff to book an appointment for you or call us on (07) 3846 6317 to book an appointment.

Caseworker Training

We conduct Mental Health Caseworker Training to assist mental health caseworkers in community agencies to better identify legal issues and to develop and improve referral pathways to community legal services.

Advocacy Training

The MHLP has developed a comprehensive advocacy training program and trained over 100 advocates since we established our Tribunal Advocacy Service in 2012.

We thank the University of Queensland for hosting all our training weekends.

Mental Health Law Research and Policy

We are involved in a range of mental health law research and policy work including:

Mental Health Act Review

In June 2013, the Queensland Government announced a review of the Mental Health Act 2000 (Qld). The objective of the review is to identify and enact improvements in the Act, having regard to the experiences of stakeholders and those responsible for administering the Act since inception. We prepared submissions, to the first and second round consultations which can be viewed online.

Young People with Mental Illness

We also researched the legal needs of young people on involuntary treatment orders (ITOs) in Southeast Queensland to develop and target appropriate legal and advocacy services to better assist young people.