Community Treatment Orders

A community treatment order requires a person with a mental illness to cooperate with treatment, including taking any medication for that mental illness even if they do not want to. Only a psychiatrist or authorised medical practitioner can decide what treatment is necessary.

A community treatment order cannot be used to enforce treatment of other illnesses.

There are two levels of Community Treatment Orders.

Level 1 Community Treatment Order: maximum period of 28 days for treatment [s 10(4) Mental Health Act 2009]

This order can be made by a psychiatrist, authorised medical practitioner, medical practitioner or authorised health professional [s 10(1) Mental Health Act 2009]. If the order is not made by either a psychiatrist or authorised medical practitioner it must be reviewed by one within 24 hours; if this cannot be done, then the review must occur as soon as possible [s 10(5)].

A psychiatrist or authorised medical practitioner who has examined a patient on a level 1 community treatment order may vary or revoke the order at any time [s 10(7)].

required review of a level 1 community treatment order

SACAT must review a level 1 community treatment order as soon as practicable after receiving notice of the order (the Chief Psychiatrist must be told of the order within one business day of the order being made, and the Chief Psychiatrist must then in turn inform SACAT of the order within one business day) and before the order expires [s 15(1)]. Such a review is taken to come within the Tribunal's original jurisdiction [s 15(4)].

SACAT must, on a review of a level 1 community treatment order, revoke the order unless satisfied that grounds exist for a level 2 community treatment order to be made [s 15(3)].

If the order was not reviewed by SACAT before its revocation, a review of the circumstances involved in the making and revocation of the level 1 community treatment order must be conducted as soon as practicable after the revocation of the order [s 79(1)(a)]. Such a review is taken to come within the Tribunal's original jurisdiction [s 79(5)].

Level 2 Community Treatment Order: maximum period of 12 months for treatment (6 months for a child) [s 16(5)]

A Level 2 order is made by SACAT [s 16(1) Mental Health Act 2009]. (A level 1 order is not a prerequisite for making a level 2 order.)

required review of a level 2 community treatment order

A review of a level 2 community treatment order that has been made in respect of a child and continues to apply to the person 3 months after the making of the order must be conducted by SACAT as soon as practicable after the end of the period of 3 months [s 79(1)(b)]. Such a review is taken to come within the Tribunal's original jurisdiction [s 79(5)].

What steps are required when someone is on a Community Treatment Order?

The person who is subject to a level 1 community treatment order must receive a statement of rights [s 12(2)] and a copy of the order [s 12(1)] and any variation or revocation of the order [s 12(5)]. Assistance should be provided for those who have difficulty understanding the information provided including interpreter assistance [s 12(3)]. A guardian, medical agent, relative, carer or friend of the person should also receive this information unless their whereabouts cannot be located or it is considered not to be in the person’s best interests to release this information [s 12(4)].

All people on level 2 orders must have a treatment and care plan developed for them collaboratively with the person and their significant others, where possible [ss 40(1), (2)]. Someone who is subject to a community treatment order is entitled to request the involvement of a guardian, medical agent, relative, carer or friend or advocate in significant meetings with treatment centre staff [s 47].

Appealing Community Treatment Orders

A legal representation scheme is provided free of charge to all persons who are subject to an order under appeal [s 84]. The Legal Services Commission administers the scheme.  Other parties to an appeal will need to make their own arrangements for legal representation.

appealing a level 1 community treatment order

All decisions to make level 1 community treatment orders (which are always made by a psychiatrist, authorised medical practitioner, medical practitioner or authorised health professional) can be reviewed by application to SACAT [s 81]. A review may be sought at any time while the order is in place [s 81(2)]. For these reviews, the Tribunal must not be constituted by a medical practitioner sitting alone [s 81(2a)]. Such reviews come within the Tribunal's original jurisdiction [s 81(1a)].

If SACAT reviews a level 1 community treatment order, the SACAT review decision is then subject to an internal review [s 83A]. The application for internal review must be made within one month of the SACAT decision [s 70(2) South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013]. For an internal review in this case, the Tribunal must be constituted by 3 members [s 83A(e)(ii) Mental Health Act 2009].

See also: Appeals

appealing a level 2 community treatment order

As level 2 community treatment orders are made by SACAT, any decision to make such an order is subject to an internal review by SACAT [s 83A(b)]. 

SACAT's decision at a required review of a level 2 community treatment order that had been made in respect of a child and continued to apply to the person 3 months after the making of the order (see above) is subject to an internal review [s 83A(b)].

The application for internal review may be made at any time [s 16(7)]. For an internal review in these cases, the Tribunal must not be constituted by a medical practitioner sitting alone [s 83A(e)(i)].

See also: Appeals

Appeals to the Supreme Court

Following internal review [s 71(2a) South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013], a further appeal lies to the Supreme Court [ss 32, 71 South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013]. The appeal must be made within 14 days after the making of the decision, or after receiving the reasons for the decision, whichever is the later (but the Supreme Court may, if it is satisfied that it is just and reasonable in the circumstances to do so, dispense with the requirement that the appeal should be made within 14 days) [s 83A(g) Mental Health Act 2009].

Community Treatment Orders  :  Last Revised: Fri Apr 24th 2015
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