Mental Health Law Program

Since 1977, our Mental Health Law Program (MHLP) has been providing representation to those who have been involuntarily detained pursuant to the B.C. Mental Health Act or to those subject to the Mental Disorder Provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.

MHLP presently consists of two lawyers, five paralegals and four administrative assistants who provide services in three key areas:

  • Representation at BC Review Board Hearings for persons in the Lower Mainland found by the courts to be not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder or to be unfit to stand trial pursuant to Part XX.1 Mental Disorder Provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada. MHLP represents clients at Review Board hearings that are held at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, for clients in custody, or at the Review Board offices in Vancouver, for those clients who have been conditionally discharged. Review Board hearings that are held outside of the Lower Mainland are funded directly through the Legal Services Society.
  • Representation at Mental Health Review Board hearings will be provided for persons throughout the province who have been involuntarily detained in hospital or on extended leave in or through a designated facility under the BC Mental Health Act.
  • Provision of independent legal information on detention issues to persons detained under the BC Mental Health Act at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.


MHLP Forms & Resources


A Guide for Lawyers and Legal Advocates

This simple guide will walk you through preparing your client's case, from first interview to the end of their Review Panel hearing. It provides tips for interviewing clients living with mental disorders, obtaining medical records and navigating this area of mental health law.

Representing Your Client at a Hearing of the Mental Health Review Board


BC Health Authorities Access to Health Records Forms

Lawyers and legal advocates will need these forms to obtain medical records needed to prepare for Review Panel hearings. Please find your region's authorization form below. If you learn of a new policy or form being used in your health region, please email us at This information will allow us to provide you the most up-to-date forms.

CLAS Handouts

Lawyers and legal advocates may find these sample forms and questionnaires helpful in preparing for Review Panel hearings.

Access to Medical Records

Client Information Sheet

Hospital Contact List

Interview Questionnaire

Margaret Ostrowski Letter

Records Request Letter

Request for Copies


For more information about the BC Mental Health Act please see Guide to the Mental Health Act (2005) from the provincial Ministry of Health.

If you need other legal assistance, please visit How to get legal help.