QPILCH Mental Health Law Practice (MHLP) provides free legal advice and assistance to people with mental illness, their families and anyone dealing with an issue relating to mental health law.
In some cases we can also assist people with a mental illness who have a different legal problem such as discrimination or debts. Our lawyers 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)
- Assistance with other legal issues
- Princess Alexandra Hospital Legal Clinic
- Caseworker Training
- Advocacy Training
- Research and Mental Health Legal Policy
Advice on issues under the Mental Health Act (including the Tribunal Advocacy Service)
The MHLP provides direct advice to people throughout Queensland on issues arising under the Mental Health Act including:
- Involuntary treatment orders (ITOs);
- ECT applications;
- Justice Examination Orders; and
- Other legal issues arising out of mental illness.
This includes one off advice about your rights under the Mental Health Act, liaising with health service providers or government agencies and assisting with 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.You can apply for assistance over the telephone by contacting us on (07) 3846 3617.
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 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 Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT).
Unfortunately, we are not able to assist with forensic orders and related issues. Please contact Queensland Advocacy Incorporated for assistance with these issues.
Assistance with other legal issues
We may be able to help people with a mental illness who have other legal problems, such as:
- Centrelink or other social security issues;
- Consumer issues;
- Debts, loan agreements and bankruptcy;
- Fines, infringement notices and enforcement warrants issued by the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry (SPER);
- Guardianship or administration issues;
- Housing and tenancy issues; and
We may be able to assist through one of QPILCH's outreach legal clinics or through pro-bono referral. The extent to which we are able to assist with these issues will depend on the capacity of our lawyers and volunteers.
Princess Alexandra Hospital Legal Clinic
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 an issue under the Mental Health Act you can arrange an appointment to see us through the Hospital staff.
We conduct Mental Health Caseworker Training to assist mental health caseworkers in welfare organisations to better identify legal issues and to develop and improve referral pathways to relevant legal services. Many people with mental illness have difficulty in accessing legal services but will often be connected to caseworkers in community mental health services.
We also train advocates for our Tribunal Advocacy Service. The MHLP has developed a comprehensive training program and now has 48 trained advocates to assist patients throughout Queensland.
The advocates ensure people understand the role of the MHRT, help them to prepare for their hearings and present relevant information to the MHRT.
Research and Mental Health Legal Policy
We are involved in a range of mental health research and legal 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 it inception. We prepared our submission which can be viewed online.
Young People with Mental Illness
We are also currently involved in researching the legal needs of young people on involuntary treatment orders (ITOs) in Southeast Queensland so that we can develop and target appropriate legal and advocacy services to better assist young people.