Information for applicants

The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 (the Act) provides the State with significant powers to deprive people of their liberty should they be found to suffer from a mental disorder and are of danger to themselves or others, or have a seriously diminished capacity for self-care. Accordingly, the Act provides for a Court to make compulsory treatment orders (CTOs) and for comprehensive procedures of review and appeal of decisions about the patient’s condition and legal status.

There is a requirement for every person subject to a CTO to have his or her condition reviewed at least every six months. Should a patient disagree with their responsible clinician’s decision that they are not fit to be released from compulsory status, the patient is able to apply to the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) for a review of his or her condition. The patient can appeal a MHRT decision to the District Court or High Court.

Role of the Tribunal

The principal role of the MHRT is to consider whether or not a patient, special patient or restricted patient under the Act is fit to be released from compulsory status or the relevant order of detention.

The MHRT comprises three members: a lawyer (by convention the convener), a psychiatrist, and a community member. At a hearing, members of the MHRT will review the patient’s file, listen to evidence presented of a medical, legal, personal and family nature, clarify the key issues for that patient’s present and future mental health and wellbeing, and come to a decision in relation to whether the patient’s condition is such to justify the order to which he or she is subject.

The MHRT is a specialised tribunal that has to deal with difficult legal issues concerning mental health. It makes determinations and recommendations involving fundamental human rights with significant implications not only for the patients themselves but also for their families and the community.

Public safety issues arise in many of the cases heard by the MHRT. In such cases the MHRT is called upon to make an assessment as to the risk the patient poses to themselves or others.

Key appointment criteria

The work of the MHRT involves particular demands, and there is a serious responsibility involved in making tribunal decisions. The key appointment criteria are:

  • an ability to perform in public office in a semi-judicial role
  • a reputation for integrity, honesty and independence
  • decision-making skills including impartiality and sound judgement
  • communication skills, including the ability to communicate well with legal and medical professionals, as well as people receiving mental health services
  • an ability to think analytically, quickly and express themselves with clarity, especially under pressure
  • an ability to apply knowledge of mental illness to individual situations
  • an empathetic and sensitive attitude to mental health consumers.
  • cultural awareness and consumer sensitivity.
  • an understanding of inequities within health and a commitment to improvement.

The Ministry of Health welcomes and supports people of all gender identities, ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, disabilities and religions. A requirement of this role is to actively support and promote our diversity and inclusion principles.


MHRT members are paid at the following rate:


MHRT Convenor

MHRT Members

Meeting and preparation time

$150 per hour

$125 per hour

Travel time

$75 per hour

$75 per hour

Time commitment

A typical MHRT hearing takes about 1.5 hours to complete and 2–3 hearings are usually scheduled per hearing day. Over the 2013-2014 year the number of hearing days involved was as follows:

Spread of MHRT hearing days attended during 2017 / 2018 year


Highest number of hearing days per person per year

Lowest number of hearing days per person per year

Lawyer member and deputies



Psychiatrist member and deputies



Community member and deputies



Application for appointment

All applicants should supply:

Applications must be made using the Ministry of Health's online Career Centre and close Friday 9 April.


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