With mental health being a growing concern in our society, the legal world has evolved to recognise the implications of mental health on one’s actions. When a compromised mental state influences a person’s actions, a mental impairment defence argues that the accused should not bear the same standard legal consequences and that the mental state of the accused is considered in Court.
At Repute Law, our Senior Mental Health Defence Lawyers have extensive experience in mental health defences for all kinds of criminal offences. We recognise that people who suffer from mental health conditions or cognitive impairments are among the most vulnerable in society and require the appropriate support for their legal defence.
Our Mental Health Criminal Defence Lawyers pride themselves on building a trusting relationship with every client, handling each case with the sensitivity and compassion needed during these difficult times. We have the necessary skills, determination and passion to provide an unparalleled legal service to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case.
Mental health is a complicated area and those with mental health conditions are over-represented in the prisons. Having issues with mental health is challenging enough without the added burden of the impact of a criminal conviction. You could lose your job and liberty and may struggle to find work in the future. However, those who suffer from mental illnesses are not criminals.
Those with mental health issues have specific needs in Court on top of those of the typical defendant. Their illness may hinder effective participation in their case. If you are charged with an offence and have a mental health condition or cognitive impairment, you must seek a Mental Health Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Reports must be obtained as an s14 order commonly comes with conditions such as undertaking a mental health treatment or support plan. The earlier you engage a Mental Health Defence Lawyer, the better they can prepare a comprehensive mental impairment defence to ensure you achieve the desired outcome and avoid a criminal record.
Before 27 March 2021, persons suffering from mental health conditions relied on Section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990. There is now a new regime under the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020. Under Sections 7 to 17, you can apply to have an accused discharged if two limbs are satisfied.
It appears to the Magistrate that the defendant has (or had at the time of the alleged commission of the offence to which the proceedings relate) a mental health impairment, a cognitive impairment, or both.
It appears to the Magistrate that it would be more appropriate to deal with the defendant under this Division than otherwise in accordance with law. Section 15 of the Act provides eight factors for the Magistrate’s consideration when determining limb two, though this does not restrict other relevant matters. A major component of a Section 14 application is a well-written report from a Psychiatrist or Psychologist at an early stage, which does address these two limbs. At Repute Law, we can refer you to experts if required to facilitate this report promptly.
We believe an individual is not criminally responsible for an offence if they had a mental health condition or cognitive impairment at the time it was committed. Therefore, accusations against a person with a mental illness require an in-depth understanding of mental health challenges and how they intersect with the criminal justice system. We’ll assign one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers to work on your case.
With acknowledged expertise of the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment (Forensic Provisions) Act 2020 (NSW), we’ll assemble compelling evidence and documentation for Section 14 applications for all criminal cases — from minor road traffic offences to serious crimes committed by people with mental health conditions. Our approach is to seek diversion away from the Court process wherever possible. We aim for our clients to avoid prosecution and receive the treatment and help they need.
We also believe in offering a fixed fee service, so there is certainty in the cost of the legal work we provide for you and transparency—no unexpected hidden fees or bias costs based on your occupation or postcode. As our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers work remotely, you will not be paying for an expensive office or unnecessary overheads.
We go above and beyond to ensure you receive the care and attention you deserve. As well as always being assigned a Senior Criminal Defence Lawyer, never a junior lawyer, every Repute Law client is supported by their designated Case Concierge®, unique to Repute Law. The Case Concierge® will monitor your case, giving you regular updates by phone, text and email, so you’re never left in the dark, wondering what is happening. The Case Concierge® will also regularly check in to ensure you remain updated with everything.
If your case goes to Court, your Senior Criminal Defence Lawyer and Repute Law Case Concierge® will ensure you are Court Ready®. This is a unique process created by Repute Law to ensure our clients know what to expect and how to behave in Court. Our Senior Mental Health Criminal Defence Lawyers specialise in mental health defences for all criminal offences, including:
Reach out to our Senior Mental Health Criminal Lawyers to build your defence
To successfully argue a mental impairment defence in Court, you must have a trustworthy, knowledgeable Mental Health Defence Lawyer on your side. That’s where we come in. When you choose Repute Law, you can trust that you’ll have a Senior Criminal Defence Lawyer, never a Junior Lawyer, to handle your case. After all, the result of your case will impact the rest of your life.
At Repute Law, we care about our clients and treat each case with dignity, compassion and respect. If you have any queries, please contact our team, who will gladly assist you in getting Court Ready®.
Yes, Australia does have an insanity defence, although its application and specifics vary among its jurisdictions. Generally referred to as the “mental impairment” or “mental unfitness to stand trial” defence, it can be raised when an accused person was unable to understand the nature and quality of their actions due to a mental impairment at the time of the offence. It must affect their reasoning process and cognitive capacity, not just their emotional volition. It’s important to note that only a selection of mental illnesses, as recognised by psychiatrists and psychologists, can qualify as mental illnesses under criminal law.
The Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 makes it clear that the defence of mental illness – now known as the defence of mental health impairment or cognitive impairment – is a complete defence to criminal charges, which means a person must be found not guilty if the defence is established