A comparative discussion of the regulation of Mental Health Review Boards in South Africa and the Mental Health Review Tribunal in the United Kingdom
Authors Moffat Maitele Ndou
Affiliations: Lecturer, University of the Free State
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 50 Issue 1, p. 56 – 83
There is general dissatisfaction regarding the operation of review boards in South Africa. These boards are guided solely by the principle of legality in that they may act only if legally permitted to do so, the principle of natural justice in that they must allow all sides an opportunity to present their cases, and the general principles governing administrative action. There are no general procedural rules applicable to all review boards. Lessons could be learnt from the United Kingdom’s Review Tribunal and the First-Tier Tribunal as they relate to mental health care. The United Kingdom Review Tribunals have rules of procedure and mechanisms aimed at case management. The Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) provides a right to legal representation for the mentally ill at the proceedings. This right does not extend to representation in any instances other than during the proceedings before a review board or any other court. The introduction of the Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) would strengthen the protection of rights of mental health care users in terms of the MHCA and the Constitution, in that mental health care users would be better informed of their rights and be able to access review boards.