You can find information here to help you determine if you want to self represent, get free legal representation or private legal representation.
It may be a good idea to have a representative at a review panel hearing, but it is not required. You may choose to attend the hearing without a representative and present your own case – this is referred to as “self-representation”.
You may also choose to be represented by someone else, such as a family member, friend, near relative or anyone you trust.
The role of a patient’s representative is to provide advocacy by representing your interests at a hearing, and to present your case for discontinuing certification/detention.
Patients are often represented by advocates from the Mental Health Law Program. However, a patient may instead hire his or her own lawyer or ask a family member, friend, near relative or other person to represent them. Patients wishing to have private representation are responsible for making their own arrangements. For example, hiring a lawyer in private practice means that the patient chooses to make their own arrangements for legal representation, including payment for a lawyer of their choosing.
To read more about the role and responsibilities of a patient representative see Practice Direction – Guidelines for Patient Representatives.
To request free legal representation from the MHLP, make sure you check the option “Request free legal representation from the Mental Health Law Program (MHLP)” on your application form. The Board office will submit the request directly to the MHLP for you. MHLP will then contact you to discuss the availability of an advocate for your hearing.
If you have any questions regarding representation by the MHLP, feel free to call the Community Legal Assistance Society at (604) 685-3425 or toll free at 1-888-685-6222 and ask for the MHLP program.
The Mental Health Law Program (MHLP) provides patients with information and assistance regarding review panels, and provides some advocates to represent patients at review panel hearing throughout the Province. Many patients who are represented at review panel hearings are represented by advocates from the MHLP.
Access Pro Bono’s Mental Health Program Telephone Clinic offers 30 minutes of free legal advice about certification and Mental Health Act rights. Their website also lists other resources you may find helpful.
You may also go to our Resources page for more information.
You are free to contact a lawyer or advocate of your choosing at any time. You are responsible for making those arrangements, including any fees associated with those services.
If you want to hire a lawyer but don’t know how to find one, you may: