A Study into the Operation of the Queensland Mental Health Review Tribunal

Med Law Rev. 2021 Aug 9;29(1):106-127. doi: 10.1093/medlaw/fwaa043.


The Queensland Mental Health Review Tribunal makes difficult decisions regarding involuntary treatment of people with mental illness, applying strict legislative criteria against a backdrop of fundamental human rights considerations. This article reports on focus group research with lawyers and advocates for people with mental illness who appear before the Queensland Mental Health Review Tribunal. Participants expressed concerns regarding the manner in which decisions are made. For example, participants said that their clients' views on the side effects of treatment do not receive adequate consideration when involuntary treatment is authorised. We review these concerns in the light of applicable legal obligations, including those arising from human rights law. We conclude that if these concerns are accurate, some adjustments to the Queensland Mental Health Review Tribunal's decision-making processes are required.

Keywords: Electroconvulsive therapy; Human rights; Involuntary treatment; Mental health; Mental health law; Mental health tribunal.

MeSH terms

  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Decision Making*
  • Focus Groups
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Involuntary Treatment, Psychiatric / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Judicial Role*
  • Lawyers
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Queensland