Mental Health Solicitors in London

We know how stressful mental health law issues can be, not just for individuals, but also for their friends and family.

We are an approachable, accessible, reliable team of specialist lawyers who really care about getting the best possible outcome for you. We are regarded as one of the leading firms of Mental Health Solicitors in England and Wales  and have been described in the independent legal directory, the Legal 500, as representing clients with ‘the utmost dignity and discretion’.

Please click here for the guide to being detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, Deprivation of Liberty and Community Care rights.

Below are a list of charities which can provide you with further assistance with specialist support service:

How TV Edwards work:

We will use clear language in all our dealings with you and hope that we are able to reduce your burden and worry. That’s important to us. We aim to deliver the service you need in a way that suits you, so we make sure that we are available in person, by telephone or via our online service. We recognise that it may not be always easy or practicable to make journeys, and we don’t expect you to come to us, we can arrange hospital visits.

When you instruct us you can be confident that your case will be handled by an experienced solicitor, and that it will be handled properly and with understanding.  Our service is about making the law work for you, and always acting in your best interests. Our Mental Health team is supported by colleagues who specialise in other areas of law including criminal law, housing law and family law. This means that, whatever the issue, there will be experts on hand to advise you. It’s a holistic, tailored service, and it’s valued by our clients.

Our team includes Carolyn Taylor who regularly writes and lectures on mental health law and sits as a Mental Health Tribunal judge. She has over 25 years of experience and has been a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health Tribunal Panel since 1996. She is described in the Legal 500 as an “expert in mental health matters” with ‘significant experience in human rights, both as a civil and criminal lawyer’, and is ‘an acknowledged expert in this field’.

What TV Edwards solicitors will do:

We can advise on and represent you in all aspects of mental health and capacity law. Here is a snapshot of our work:

  • Representation at Mental Health Tribunals and Hospital Managers’ hearings.
  • Advising and assisting at Care Programme Approach (CPAs) meetings and other meetings to plan discharge from hospital.
  • Acting in Court of Protection proceedings on behalf of minors/adults about medical treatment and disputes over residence and/or contact.
  • Advising patients and families in respect of the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) and representing in proceedings.
  • Advising and assisting families of those who have died in psychiatric care in respect of NHS Trust investigations and Coroner’s inquests.
  • Judicial review of unlawful decisions made by the Mental Health Second Tier Tribunal, NHS Trusts, Social Services and Local Authorities.
  • Advising nearest relatives on their powers under the Mental Health Act.
  • Acting for patients and nearest relatives where the local authority is applying to displace the nearest relative.
  • Acting for prisoners with mental health issues who want to be transferred to hospital.
  • Acting in criminal appeals where mental health is an issue.

Funding your case

If you instruct us on an appeal to a mental health tribunal, you will be entitled to free representation.

In most other situations we can act on legal aid, which means that the cost of your case is wholly or partly paid for from public funds. This is only available to people with limited means and with the approval of the Legal Aid Agency. We can help you work out whether or not you are eligible for legal aid and, if you are, we’ll guide you through the application process.

Where Legal Aid is not available we can quote you a competitive fixed price for our work.
Click here to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mental disorder?

A mental disorder is defined under section 1 of the Mental Health Act 1983 as any disorder or disability of the mind. This definition can include a learning disability but only if it is associated with ‘abnormally aggressive’ or ‘seriously irresponsible conduct’.

What does it mean to be an infomal or voluntary patient?

Where a person agrees to be admitted as a patient to a psychiatric hospital, they are volunteering to stay at the hospital to cooperate with an assessment of and treatment for their mental health. A voluntary patient can refuse treatment and self-discharge if they wish. If however there are concerns about risks to the patients’ health, safety or the protection of other persons due to their mental health, it is possible that they can be prevented from leaving by being detained under a section of the Mental Health Act..

What does it mean to be detained on a section of the Mental Health Act?

This means being placed in a psychiatric hospital without the person’s consent and against their will. There are various sections of the Mental Health Act which allow detention in hospital in this way. This can be done following a formal assessment of a person’s mental state. The detention has to be recommended and or approved by mental health professionals. Sometimes it can be imposed by a court.

What can a person do if they disagree with being detained in a hospital on a section?

This depends on the section under which the person is being detained. In the majority of cases the person will have the right to apply for a Tribunal hearing to challenge the detention. They may also have the option of requesting a Hospital Manager’s hearing. In some cases the person can ask their nearest relative (as defined under the Mental Health Act) to make a discharge application.

What is a tribunal?

A Tribunal is a hearing before a panel of 3 specialist Tribunal panel members. The panel consists of a medical member, a legal member and a specialist member. It’s like having a court hearing but it is held in a psychiatric hospital. The panel will read reports specially prepared for the hearing and listen to the opinions of the professionals involved in the case. They will also listen to the views of the person who is being detained and any legal arguments in favour of discharge.

What are the powers of the Tribunal?

The Tribunal has the power to direct the detained patient’s discharge from hospital. They can also uphold the patient’s continued detention and in some cases they have powers to make recommendations with a view to facilitating a patient’s future discharge.

What is a Hospital Managers' hearing?

A patient can request to have a Hospital Managers hearing whilst detained under the Mental Health Act. A Hospital Manager’s hearing is similar to a Tribunal hearing. The difference is that instead of specialist Tribunal panel members dealing with the hearing, it is dealt with by Hospital Managers. These Managers are usually independent of the hospital but not of the hospital trust. They have similar powers to that of the Tribunal.

Who is the nearest relative?

The nearest relative is defined under section 26 of the Mental Health Act.  The Act sets out in order the people who can be a patient’s nearest relative. The nearest relative will generally be identified as the person who is highest on the list, working from the top down. For example, a husband, wife or civil partner is at the top of the list. If the detained patient does not have a husband, wife or civil partner, the next category of person down the list is considered and so on. This is a very basic explanation of identifying the nearest relative and there are additional rules in some cases. If you are unsure as to who the nearest relative is, then you should always seek the advice of a professional who is familiar with the rules.

What is the nearest relative's power of discharge?

One of the most important functions of a nearest relative is their power of discharge which depends on the section under which the patient is being detained. In appropriate cases, the nearest relative can write a letter to the Hospital Manager’s to express their wish for their detained relative to be discharged from hospital. However, the discharge can be blocked by the patient’s responsible consultant psychiatrist if they believe the patient is likely to act in a manner dangerous to him or herself or others. If a nearest relative’s discharge is blocked, the patient may be referred for a Hospital Manager’s hearing and the nearest relative may have the power to apply for a Tribunal hearing.

Can a person being detained under the Mental Health Act be forced to take medication?

Putting it simply, yes, a detained person can be forced to take medication. If the person is a detained patient under sections 2, 3, 36, 37, 38, 45A, 47 or 48 then the consent to treatment provisions of the Mental Health Act will apply. This means the patient can be given treatment without his or her consent for the first 3 months of their section, after which a second opinion must be obtained.

What is section 117 aftercare?

Section 117 aftercare is the provision of appropriate aftercare services to a person in the community following their discharge from a psychiatric hospital. These services are free of charge. It only applies to a patient who has been discharged from hospital following detention under sections 3, 37, 37/41, 45A, 47 or 48.

What is a Care Pathway Approach Meeting?

A Care Pathway Approach (CPA) meeting is a review of the care plan by the professionals involved in a patient’s case. They will discuss the progress made, feed this back to the patient and decide how best to support the needs of the patient in the future. You can ask for a solicitor to attend this type of meeting to provide advice and assistance. This shouldn’t be confused with a ward round which is a weekly review of a patients progress in hospital. A ward round is not a legal meeting and one which a solicitor is generally unable to attend.

Can I get legal advice on my rights? Will I have to pay?

Legal Aid for advice and assistance may be available for either the detained person or a nearest relative, subject to them qualifying on an assessment of their finances and there being a realistic prospect of success. A person being detained in hospital and who requires advice and assistance in relation to a tribunal application is entitled to free and independent legal advice. They will qualify automatically for Legal Aid without the need for their finances to be means tested. The same applies for a person subject to compulsory treatment in the community and wishes to consider the making of a tribunal application. This can also include a nearest relative eligible to make a tribunal application..