Getting legal help
If you need legal help with a mental health hearing or appeal, speak with the patient advocate or rights advisor in the facility where you are admitted or receiving treatment. The patient advocate or rights advisor can advise you of your rights and help you choose a lawyer if one is needed.
Duty counsel for mental health cases
People appearing in mental health court on a criminal matter without a lawyer are usually assisted by duty counsel at their first appearance. After the first appearance, people who cannot apply for legal aid on their own can receive help in one of the following ways:
Through a lawyer or criminal duty counsel
Lawyers or duty counsel can request legal aid on a client's behalf if the client is not able to apply for it. Legal Aid Ontario will also help the person find a lawyer to take their case.
With a legal aid worker or a patient advocate/rights advisor
People who are in custody or in a mental health care facility can get assistance with legal aid applications from the patient advocate/rights advisor in mental health facilities where they are being held or have been admitted. Correctional facilities have legal aid staff that can help people to apply.
A patient advocate acts as a go-between for patients and health care providers. They can speak on behalf of patients if they are unable to communicate effectively.
A rights advisor helps patients understand what’s happening in situations where their legal status has been changed. Rights advisors inform patients of their rights and options, help patients make applications to the Consent and Capacity Board, and obtain legal counsel if necessary.
Consent and Capacity Board
The Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) is an independent provincial tribunal. Most of the CCB’s work involves a review of a person's involuntary status in a psychiatric facility under the Mental Health Act, or a review under the Health Care Consent Act of a person's capacity to consent to or refuse treatment.