How to prepare for a hearing

You are encouraged to have someone help you prepare for the hearing. If you are considering legal advice and representation, go to our Getting Help page.

When you ask for someone to represent you, that someone can be:

  • an advocate from the Mental Health Law Program (MHLP) – this is free service.
  • a private lawyer that you hire to represent you.
  • your friend, family member, near relative.
  • someone you trust.

If you have someone representing you such as a lawyer, advocate, etc., you should meet with that person as soon as you can and ask a lot of questions such as

  • what your rights are.
  • what the hearing is about.
  • what you want to come out of the hearing.
  • whether there are other ways of achieving your goals.
  • whether you should request a second medical opinion.
  • what you want to say at the hearing.
  • what evidence you want to present.
  • how to make a request to the hospital to get your treatment records and other relevant documents.

It is your right to represent yourself at the hearing.  Below is information that you should know when preparing your case:

  • Understand the Rules of Practice and Procedures / Practice Directions – You should review the Board’s Rules and corresponding practice directions for specific responsibilities including time limits, communications, evidence and hearing processes. You can find the Rules and Practice Directions on the Resources page.
  • Witnesses – you should think about who can give evidence in support of your case and contact them as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements.
    • The best witness is someone who knows you.
    • It is best that your witness attends the hearing to give evidence in person. This also allows the review panel and other participants to clarify evidence through questions.
    • If your witness cannot attend in person, bring a letter from the witness and arrange to have your witness available to answer questions by phone at the hearing.
    • For more information about family members and friends as witnesses, please see I am Family or a Support Person for a Patient page.  
  • Documents – you are entitled to see documents that will be relied on or referred to at the hearing, include the case note prepared by your treating physician for the hearing.
    • If you want to review or obtain copies of your medical records for the purpose of preparing for the hearing, you must make a request to the hospital as soon as possible before the scheduled hearing. Hospitals have a duty to disclose relevant documents to the patient or their representative. For more information about disclosure please review Practice Direction – Guidelines for Disclosure.
    • If you have documents that you wish to rely on or refer to at the hearing you should bring a copy for the hospital’s case presenter.
  • Other resources – To prepare for the hearing, you may wish to