Mental Health Legal Service

QAI’s Mental Health Legal Service (MHLS) is a specialist legal service dedicated to providing free and independent information, advice, referrals and representation in relation to mental health law in Queensland.

Assistance is free, confidential and independent of Queensland Health or the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

From time to time, the MHLS also works on law reform issues and provides continuing legal education services to the legal profession and the community.

What type of work does the MHLS do?

The focus of the service is to provide advice and representation to people who have matters before the Mental Health Review Tribunal.  Due to limited resources, we may not be able to provide assistance to people who do not have matters or potential matters before the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

A matter before the Mental Health Tribunal includes:

  • Review of an involuntary treatment order
  • Review of a forensic order
  • An application for electroconvulsive therapy.
  • An application to have an involuntary patient move out of Queensland.

The extent of assistance that will be provided by the MHLS is at the discretion of the service, having regard to all relevant circumstances such as the needs of the client, the merits of the case and the resources of the service. For example, the service may:

  • Provide one-off legal advice on a client’s rights and obligations under the Mental Health Act 2000 (Qld).
  • Assist a client in preparing submissions for use by the client in the conduct of his or her own matter;
  • Prepare a brief so that the matter may be referred for further legal advice, support or representation;
  • Appear before the Mental Health Review Tribunal on behalf of a client.

We do not provide representation before the Mental Health Court. If you require assistance for a Mental Health Court matter, please contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88

If the MHLS cannot assist an individual, we will try to refer the person to another organisation that may be able to assist.

Who does the MHLS assist?

The MHLS will only assist people who are consumers of mental health services. The MHLS is respectful of and encourages the assistance of family, friends and other support people. However, unless exceptional circumstances exist, only a consumer of mental health services can be a client of the MHLS.

Priority for assistance is given to people who are in-patients.  

The MHLS is a Brisbane-based service, unless effective assistance can be provided by telephone.

How do I get help?

We have changed our intake process to ensure the fairest and widest distribution of our services.

New and former clients who contact the Mental Health Legal Service will now be given the next available appointment to speak with a lawyer over the telephone.

If following that appointment the client would still like representation before the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the client will be placed on a waiting list for representation. We will contact the client as soon as they reach the top of the list. This may mean the client will not be represented at their next Tribunal hearing, but will have to wait for a later hearing to be represented.

We will continue to prioritise electroconvulsive therapy hearings and matters which involve the use of seclusion.

We thank you for your patience.

To book a legal advice appointment with the Mental Health Legal Service, please contact (07) 3844 4200(07) 3844 4200.

Policies and guidelines:

For more information, please see our guidelines below or contact the MHLS on 3844 4200.

MHLS – Guidelines for Assistance (pdf)

QAI – Complaints policy
QAI – Privacy policy (pdf)