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Australian Mental Health Tribunals

Australian Mental Health Tribunals

Space for Fairness, Freedom, Protection and Treatment?

By Terry Carney, David Tait, Julia Perry, Alikki Vernon and Fleur Beaupert


This monograph provides a comprehensive examination of mental health tribunal hearings in Australia. It deals with a wide and far-reaching landscape of theories and concepts and their practical application to the day-to-day operations of the tribunals in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

The study is extensive and broad in its approach, going beyond a critical assessment of the individual tribunals to an examination of the supporting mental health services, and of the complex area of human rights as they relate to the care and treatment of people with a mental illness.

It documents the universal tensions between the ‘pragmatic’ (what is ‘affordable’ and ‘politically acceptable’), the ‘normative’ (human rights and common law principles) and the ‘evidence based’ (what ‘works best’). The entire discourse is framed within a concern to uphold the rights of those living with a mental illness and a desire to bring about paradigm-shifting changes to improve mental health processes for all stakeholders.

It presents considered views on tribunals’ future directions, commending existing ‘good practices’ and charting possible directions for reform of legislation and operations.


Human Rights Frameworks
Mental Health laws and processes
Theoretical frameworks and prior research findings
A legal, health or social domain?
Statistical overview of the three mental health tribunals
The pre-hearing journey towards a hearing 
The substantive “workings” of hearings
Cognate “spaces” around and after hearings
Overview and Recommendations
Future Directionsfor Australian mental health tribunals?

Published 29 November 2011
Publisher Themis Press
ISBN 9781921113055
Australian RRP $74.95
International Price $70.00
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Law - Health Law
Law - Administrative
Disability Services

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