This year's conference provides practical advice on business survival: how to establish a business approach to legal aid work, reduce your overheads and work on a tighter budget. The conference will cover innovation and the role of technology in access to justice and provide a dynamic speed consultancy session, enabling you to speak directly to experts on issues that concern you.
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 representative 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.
Only members of the Mental Health Scheme are authorised to represent clients under a legal aid contract 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 567kb). This list is updated each month.
The following can apply for accreditation:
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.
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.
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.
If you need any further guidance or support, please contact the Accreditation Unit on:
Telephone: 0207 320 5797 (lines are open 09:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scheme members can save 20 per cent on the newly published Mental Health Tribunals, written by Philip Fennell, Penny Letts and Jonathan Wilson.
To claim your discount, send your name and your organisation's name to email@example.com.