Forensic Patients

Forensic Patients

The Forensic Division of the Tribunal

Under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990, 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;

• Found not guilty by reason of mental illness or nominated a limiting term and ordered to be detained in a prison, hospital or other place

• Found not guilty by reason of mental illness and released into the community subject to conditions.

The Tribunal is responsible for deciding:

• where a forensic patient should be detained,

• whether the patient can have any leave from the hospital (ie 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 about the Tribunal’s hearing processes and reviews of  forensic patients, click Forensic  Guidelines.

For more information specifically for a victim of a forensic patient’s offence, click Involvement of Registered Victims.

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


 If you are concerned that a forensic patient may have breached her/his conditions of leave or release you can contact the Tribunal on 9816 5955 and asking to speak to a Principal Forensic Officer or email

 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 issued detailed Forensic Guidelines which set out its practices in relation to the work of its Forensic Division. 
  • 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.