Acting for prisoners seeking transfer to hospital

Has anybody got experience of this? Am I right in thinking that we can now do this under a MH contract?

There’s a section about this in Legal Aid Agency, ‘Contract management: mental health guidance’ (v3, 1/9/18):

9. Work in Prisons

Section 8(3) of LASPO states that “‘civil legal services’ means any legal services other than the types of advice, assistance and representation that are required to be made available under sections 13, 15 and 16 (criminal legal aid).” The effect of this provision is that any work that stands to be funded as criminal legal aid cannot be funded under the civil legal aid scheme even where the proceedings are ostensibly described in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to LASPO. Mental Health providers should take care not to provide advice on a matter under Part III of the Mental Health Act 1983 that ought to be funded as criminal legal aid.

For example, where a hospital order is made under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 any initial appeal against the terms of that order to the criminal courts would constitute an appeal against a sentence and would fall under criminal legal aid. This can be contrasted with an application to the Mental Health Tribunal in relation to that detention as permitted under Part V of the Mental Health Act 1983, which falls exclusively within the Mental Health category of law and cannot be done by Crime providers.

For the avoidance of doubt, advice and assistance regarding Sections 47 and 48 of the Mental Health Act (i.e. transfer of sentenced and un-sentenced prisoners to hospital) can be carried out by providers with Mental Health schedule authorisation. This includes negotiation with and proceedings against prison authorities that may be required to secure the client’s transfer under these sections. However, care should be taken that the advice does not extend to Prison Law matters which should only be undertaken by Crime providers, for example discussion of such matters before the Parole Board.

Thank you-I knew I had seen that somewhere. I am not sure what ‘negotiations and proceedings’ would be possible but was wondering if it is possible to obtain an independent report potentially recommending a transfer to hospital. Does anyone know if LA would cover that or are inde reports limited to MHT work?