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Mental health

  • The Mental Health Accreditation Scheme covers the representation of patients in all proceedings before the first-tier tribunal (mental health) under the Mental Health Act 1983.

    Accredited members also agree to follow the Law Society Code of Practice for Mental Health (PDF 147kb), which requires them to deal with the case personally unless exceptional circumstances arise.

    Your responsibilities as a tribunal representatives are outlined in our practice note representation before mental health tribunals, which provides best practice and guidelines, including the duty of confidentiality and what constitutes the best interests of the client.

    Who is membership for?

    Only members of the Mental Health Scheme are authorised to represent clients who are detained under the Mental Health Act before the relevant tribunal in England or Wales. Changes to legal aid contracts in August 2014 mean that all mental health representatives require the accreditation.

    To view all current members of the scheme, download a list of members (PDF 424kb). This list is updated each month.

    The following can apply for accreditation:

    • solicitors
    • fellows and members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
    • trainee solicitors
    • other case workers

    Why apply for mental health accreditation?

    • Ensure that clients and their representatives are easily able to identify you as a legal practitioner with proven competency in mental health law.
    • Show that you maintain relevant standards of competency and expertise in the field through re-accreditation.
    • Demonstrate your conformity to a best-practice quality mark that prospective clients can trust.

    From August 2014, you will only be able to obtain mental health legal aid contracts to appear before the tribunal if you are accredited with the Mental Health Accreditation Scheme.

    Lexcel accreditation

    It is also a tender requirement that you have Lexcel accreditation or membership of another quality assurance scheme in place by 1 August 2014. If you make the Lexcel office aware that you are applying for the purposes of a Legal Aid Agency contract you will have your application processed as soon as possible, but it is important to bear in mind that following an assessment you may be required to take further action to comply with the standard.

    If you are confident that you are fully compliant with the scheme’s requirements (for example, because you are using a Lexcel consultant) you should aim to have your Lexcel assessment completed no later than 31 May 2014. If not, you should have your assessment completed as soon as possible to allow yourselves time to carry out any corrective action that is required if accreditation is to be awarded by 1 August.

    How do I apply for accreditation?

    See the application page for full details on how to apply. Solicitors, legal executives, trainee solicitors and other case workers can all apply, but non-solicitor applicants must be employed by a practice regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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  • Further help or support

    If you need any further guidance or support, please contact the Accreditation Unit on:

    Telephone: 0870 606 2566 (lines are open 10:00 - 16:00 Monday to Friday)
    Email: accreditation@
    lawsociety.org.uk