Mental health law resource
- 1 Overview
- 2 Holding sections
- 3 Treatment sections
- 4 Police sections
- 5 Judicial sections
- 6 Other sections
- 7 The mental capacity act
|Section Number||Length of section||Who can do it?||Can it be renewed?||What's it for?||Can they force treament?|
|2||28 Days||2 doctors||No||Assessment or treatment.||Yes|
|3||6 Months||2 doctors||Yes||Treatment only.||Yes|
|4||72 Hours||A doctor||No||Admittance to hospital only.||No|
|5(2)||72 Hours||A doctor||No||Detention only if already admitted, until two doctors can assess. AKA “power to hold”||No|
|5(4)||6 Hours||A mental health nurse||No||Detention only if already admitted, until two doctors can assess. AKA “power to hold”||No|
|18||-||A cop||-||Power to detain someone already sectioned and not in hospital, for transit to hospital. No power of entry.||No|
|35||28 Days||A court and a doctor||Yes||Alternative to bail if assessment of your mental health is impossible were you to be bailed.||No|
|37||6 Months||A court and two doctors||Yes||In place of jail or prison, as ordered by a court.||Yes|
|47||6 Months||The ministry of justice||Yes||Transit from a prison to a hospital as ordered by the Ministry of Justice.||Yes|
|135||24 Hours||A court(directing cops)||Extended once, for 12 Hours||Transit to “a place of safey”(under exceptional circumstances, a police station). Allows powers of entry.||No|
|137||24 Hours||A cop||Extended once, for 12 Hours||Transit to “a place of safey”(under exceptional circumstances, a police station).||No|
Section 4 is used for admittance to hospital for an emergancy, because of a mental health condition, without your consent.
It's frequently used when, for example, a GP considers someone to need admitting to hospital, but they are not already admitted to hospital. Another common example is having been seen by a doctor in A&E, who decides you should be admitted.
If you are not in hospital, the ambulance service will arrange transit to the hospital, after which time a section 2 acessment will be carried out.
This section allows a doctor to admit you to hospital without your consent for 72 hours, in contrast to section 5, which allows people to hold you in hospital after already being admitted.
They can hold you in hospital, but they cannot force treatment(such as medication) on you.
Common Misuses and mistakes
The section is often confused with section 5, but the differences between them once the section has been used are minimal, and generally not worth challenging.
Section 5(2) is used by a doctor to hold you in hosptial following admittance to hospital with your consent.
For example, following a suicide attempt someone may seek treatment for the physical consequenses of the attempt, and they decide they wish to leave the hospital following(or part way through) this treatment. The section may be used now, to hold them in hospital until two doctors can access whether the doctors are going to hold you under section 3 for acessment for mental health issues.
One doctor can Mandate that someone is held for up to 72 hours, and in this time they cannot be forced to take any medication or undergo any treatment. This time should be used to being a two psychiatrists to the person as soon as possible, to carry out a full acessment.
Being held doesn't nesicerily mean they'll be held on a specialised psychiatric ward- it's very possible the doctor will rely on the nurse on their ward to alert hospital security and prevent them from leaving, or a private security guard stationed to watch them.
Common Misuses and mistakes
The section can be confused with section 4, which is for admittance to hospital, and section 5(4), which is a similar section but shorter and used by a mental health nurses(a common misconception is that any nurse can use this section- only mental health or learning disabilites nurses can. See s5(4) for more details)