Changes have been made to the Mental Health Act 2007 via the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 passed on 24 March 2020, and the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures—Miscellaneous) Act 2020 was passed on 13 May 2020. The relevant provisions in both Acts commenced the day after each Act was passed.

Section 202 was introduced via the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020, resulting in three key changes that relate to the Mental Health Review Tribunal’s operations and orders:

  1. The Tribunal may now hold a mental health inquiry under section 34 by telephone, rather than by audio visual link or in person.
  2. The time the Tribunal has to adjourn a mental health inquiry is now 28 days, from 14 days.
  3. The Tribunal can now extend a Community Treatment Order for three months even if that means the order will be in force for more than 12 months.

The Tribunal can only exercise the above functions if it considers it is necessary to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Section 203 was introduced via the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures—Miscellaneous) Act 2020, resulting in a key change relating to assessments to determine if ongoing detention is required under the Act. All examinations required under section 27 of the Act (including by an Accredited Person) may now take place using audio-visual link (AVL) subject to certain safeguards. This function can only be exercised if it is considered necessary to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These amendments will be repealed on 26 March 2021.

Page Updated: Tuesday 29 September 2020
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch