Mental Health Legal Centre Inc.
Legal advice and advocacy
If you are a person with a mental illness and you require assistance with any of the following matters we may be able to assist, if the legal issue relates directly to your mental illness. Please note that we are not in a position to advise carers or mental health staff without the client’s (mental health consumer's) permission.
- Your rights as an involuntary patient in hospital or in the community under the Mental Health Act (2014)
- Restrictive interventions such as electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and restraint and seclusion (please note that for urgent advice about ECT or a visit by a Crisis assessment and treatment team (CAT) you can either telephone our Night Service Advice Line or contact Victoria Legal Aid)
- Mental Health Tribunal hearings, including legal representation for people on community treatment orders (CTOs) (please see below)
- Complaints about the mental health system, involuntary detention and treatment under the Mental Health Act (2014)
- Compaints about health providers or other complaints relating to your mental illness
- Forensic mental health matters (eg. under the Crimes Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act 1988)
- Human rights and discrimination relating to mental illness
- Child protection matters in the Children's Court
- Complaints about police or protective services officers (advice only)
- Infringements / fines - where your mental illness contributed to the alleged offence
- Family law disputes about children (eg. contact, residency)
- Freedom of information (eg. accessing and correcting information on your clinical file)
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Guardianship and administration orders
- Powers of attorney and advance directives
For advice on the issues above you can telephone our Night Service Advice Line on (03) 9629 4422 or 1800 555 887 (freecall for Victorian Country callers) between 6.30pm - 8.30pm every Tuesday and Thursday.
If you require legal assistance during business hours please telephone Victoria Legal Aid.
The Centre will try to assist other solicitors acting on behalf of people who have a mental illness where possible.
We are unable to provide legal advice or advocacy on the following issues, however we will endeavour to refer you elsewhere:
- Business/ commercial disputes
- Criminal matters (indictable offences)
- Medical negligence litigation
- Personal injury matters (including Workcover, TAC and public liability claims)
- Property law matters and building disputes
- Wills, estates and probate
Legal representation before Victoria's Mental Health Tribunal
If you have a Mental Health Tribunal Hearing coming up and know the date of the hearing you can call our office number (03) 9629 4422 to arrange representation. Ideally we require at least 2 weeks notice, however we will endeveour to accomodate shorter timeframes the best we can . If it is less than 2 days notice, we will do our best arrange representation however it may not be achievable.
For urgent representation you will need to phone Victorian Legal Aid (VLA) on (03) 9269 0120.
Other support services
- Victoria Legal Aid
Link to Victoria Legal Aid's offices
- Generalist Community Legal Centres
List of Community Legal Centres that provide general legal advice to people in Victoria.
- Specialist Community Legal Centres
List of Community Legal Centres that focus on particular groups of people or areas of law.
- Court Network
Can provide emotional support and information for people going to Children's Court, Family Court, Coroners Court, Magistrates Court, County Court and Supreme Court
- Victorian Legal Services Board
Includes fact sheet on 'Working with your lawyer' and information on making complaints
- Mental Health Complaints Commissioner
- Office of the Chief Psychiatrist
You will also find further information about legal, financial, health and other support services in our Links section.