What happens at civil hearings

What happens at civil hearings

In civil hearings, a Tribunal panel may make legally binding decisions about the detention, review and ongoing care and treatment of the client. Before the hearing, the applicant, such as a health care agency or doctor, will send an application to the Tribunal. The Tribunal will then contact relevant parties where necessary to inform them of the hearing and the need to provide evidence.

At the hearing, one or more health care professionals (such as the treating doctor, a social worker and a case manager) will give evidence about the need for the order that the treating team is requesting. The client will have the opportunity to give their view about the order being sought. Family members are also able to tell the Tribunal how they view the proposed order.

After taking into account the available evidence, the circumstances of the client and the legal requirements, the Tribunal panel will make a decision about whether or not to make the order.

The Tribunal conducts each hearing in an informal way. Nevertheless, each hearing still remains part of a legal process. The Tribunal follows the rules of procedural fairness and natural justice, but it is not bound by the formal rules of evidence. During a hearing, the members of the Tribunal will ask questions, so as to gather the information needed to make sure that all legal requirements have been met before the Tribunal makes an order.

Most Tribunal hearings are completed in about 30 minutes. However, sometimes they take longer to complete, depending on what may be needed to make sure that each person receives a full and fair hearing.