A postal survey of consultant psychiatrists was carried out to assess their level of knowledge about the role of the person representing the responsible authority at a mental health review tribunal (MHRT).
Consultants generally had a low level of knowledge and understanding of their responsibilities as representatives, which increased since appointment and with experience of MHRTs. They thought it appropriate that they continue representing the detaining authority in most cases, but recognised training needs.
Postgraduate training and continuing professional development should address the competencies required for the representative role. Trusts should review their practice in respect of legal representation at MHRTs.
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