UK Public Mental Health Review Hearing Scheduled for 27-28 September

A public mental health review hearing will be held on the application of Albert Haines, who is detained at Broadmoor Hospital, on 27-28 September at the Field House in London.  Mr. Haines was granted the right to have his hearing held in public by a groundbreaking decision of the Upper Tribunal in February 2011. MDAC made a significant contribution to the decision by providing an expert report on comparative practices in a wide range of jurisdictions regarding whether hearings to review detention in psychiatric facilities are closed or open.  MDAC also made recommendations on how the rules governing such hearings should be disability-neutral to comply with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Court supported Mr. Haines's right to have his hearing held publicly as a matter of non-discrimination against persons with disabilities, holding that, “Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (reinforced by Article 13 of the CRPD) requires that a patient should have the same or substantially equivalent access to a public hearing as a non-disabled person who has been deprived of his or her liberty, if this article 6 right to a public hearing is to be given proper effect.” (AH v. West London Mental Health Trust and Secretary of State for Justice, 2011 UKUT 74 AAC, para. 22).

Traditionally, mental health review hearings in the UK are closed and are held at the hospitals in which the persons concerned are detained (the notice on the tribunals web site is a special “judicial direction” just for this case because there would normally not be any such notice of a mental health review hearing). The persons whose rights are concerned are identified only by their initials. This has kept such proceedings out of the public eye and not subject to the same scrutiny as criminal and other proceedings. Mr. Haines, who has been detained for more than 23 years, mostly at Broadmoor, a high-security facility, requested a public hearing to bring the issues related to his detention to light. 


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