Compulsory Treatment Orders

A Compulsory Treatment Order (CTO) is when a court orders that a person with a mental health disorder must receive treatment for up to 6 months. The person doesn’t need to stay in hospital for the treatment.

Community Treatment Order

The patient receives treatment in their own home or at some other place stated in the Order.

Inpatient Order

Under an Inpatient Order, a person must stay at the hospital stated in the Order to receive treatment.

The judge will usually make a CTO unless they think the person should be in hospital.

Applying for a CTO

A relative of the person, the police or other reputable person can make an application for a CTO.

Making an order for compulsory treatment

Generally, applications for a CTO are considered by a judge of the Family Court.

The judge will talk with the person within 14 days of the court receiving an application for a CTO, or receiving an application to review an existing CTO.

The application has to be made before the end of the second assessment period, and the examination by the Judge has to be done within 14 days of the application being filed.

The judge will talk with the person about their situation and any proposed or current assessment and treatment. They’ll ask what the patient thinks about it.

The judge will also talk with the person’s doctor and at least 1 other health professional who is involved with the person’s treatment. The judge may also talk to other people about their  treatment.

Judge's decision

If the judge decides the person doesn't need compulsory treatment, they will order such treatment to cease immediately and the person to be released from care.

If the judge decides the patient needs compulsory treatment, they will hold a hearing to consider the doctor’s application for a CTO or (if applicable) why the order should continue.

Preparing a report

The court may ask a social worker, doctor or other qualified person to prepare a report about the person’s condition. The court may also call witnesses to give evidence about the person. Usually, the person will attend the hearing. The hearing is private and not open to the public.

Appealing compulsory treatment

The person’s caregiver, welfare guardian or mental health officers can ask for the decision to be reviewed by a review tribunal.

Ending a CTO

The maximum amount of time a CTO can apply for is 6 months. It can be stopped any time before that by the person’s doctor if they think it appropriate. If the doctor believes the person still needs compulsory treatment, they can apply to the court to extend the CTO for another 6 months.

At the end of the extension, the doctor can apply for an indefinite extension if necessary.

The doctor will review the person’s condition every 6 months. If the doctor decides they no longer need compulsory treatment, they will give the person a certificate as proof of their decision, with a copy to the person’s caregiver, welfare guardian or mental health officers if applicable.

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