The MHLA

The MHLA is the professional association of Mental Health Lawyers in England and Wales. Around 80% of lawyers representing clients in applications before the Mental Health Tribunal are members.

To be eligible for Full membership, lawyers should be:

(a) members of the Law Society’s Mental Health Accreditation (Panel) scheme or actively seeking Panel membership having completed the mandatory approved two-day course with one of the Law Society approved course providers, or barristers who meet an equivalent standard; or
(b) those who undertake mental capacity law matters under a Legal Aid contract and practice under supervisory criteria in mental capacity law as published by the Association, or barristers who meet an equivalent standard.

Any lawyer who is not eligible for Full membership but who subscribes to the Objects of the Association may be made an Associate member by the Committee.

We are officially recognised by the Law Society as a Special Interest Group.

The Mental Health Lawyers Association was founded in April 2000. It was formed from the Mental Health Tribunal Advocates Group and the first Conference was held in November 2000. A further Conference was held in November 2001 at which we held our first Annual General Meeting which adopted a Constitution and elected Committee Members.

We are committed to maintaining the highest level of professionalism in representing our clients. This consists of constant updating of developments in Mental Health Law and also discussions and the sharing of information about practice before Mental Health Tribunals across the country. We are also committed to raising the profile of Mental Health Lawyers as a group of professionals who deal with an interesting but highly demanding client group.

We maintain contact with the Law Society, the Legal Aid Agency and the Tribunals Service and other interested parties to facilitate the exchange of information to best serve the interests of our clients. It has been said that one can judge a society on the way it deals with those who suffer severe emotional distress. We trust that such judgement may be more favourable as a result of the work of the Mental Health Lawyers Association.

Please take a look at our constitution. If you would like to become a member of the Association please fill out and return the Membership Form. A list of our current committee members is also available on this website.

The MHLA wishes to thank the members of Garden Court Chambers, London, for kindly allowing us to use their meeting facilities.

The Mental Health Lawyers Association, Caroline Auty, Administrator, PO Box 302, Cheadle SK8 9EH. Email: admin@mhla.co.uk