Forensic Patients

Forensic Patients

The Forensic Division of the Tribunal

Under the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 the Tribunal has a wide range of responsibilities, and can make orders in relation to the treatment, care, detention and release of forensic patients.

A forensic patient is a person who the Court has:

  • Found unfit to be tried for an offence and ordered to be detained in a correctional centre, mental health facility or other place;
  • Nominated a limiting term and ordered to be detained in a prison, hospital or other place
  • Found the act proven but the person not criminally responsible by reason of mental health impairment or cognitive impairment.

The Tribunal is responsible for deciding:

  • where a forensic patient should be detained,
  • whether the patient can have any leave from the hospital (i.e. go outside of the hospital),
  • if a patient is ready to be released into the community with conditions,
  • if a patient is ready to be unconditionally released (so that they are completely free to resume their life in the community without conditions).

The Tribunal also has responsibility for reviewing the placement and care of inmates in prison who need mental health treatment whilst in prison (“correctional patients”). 

For more information specifically for a victim of a forensic patient’s offence, please see Involvement of Registered Victims or download the Victims Information Sheet

For more information about applying for a Forensic Community Treatment Order, click Forensic CTO - Information Kit

For more informaiton about the court process that leads to a person becoming a forensic patient, click the Public Defenders Guide to the MHCIFPA


 If you are concerned that a forensic patient may have breached their conditions of leave or release, please complete the Tribunal's online Breach Notice form.

 If you have an immediate concern for your safety, you should contact the Police.

 Further information:

  • The Tribunal has prepared an Information Sheet for forensic patients which provides information about its processes and hearings.
  • The Tribunal has also issued a number of Practice Directions relating to its procedures in forensic and civil matters.
  • The Ministry of Health has issued a Policy Directive that set outs the standards and governance arrangements for forensic mental health services and general mental health services for forensic patients.