This paper, focusing on decisions of the New Zealand's Mental Health review Tribunal (MHRT) consists of a literature review and an account of the findings of a research project.
First, the literature review considers decision-making by mental health review bodies in New Zealand and other jurisdictions. The review focuses on the function and efficiency of review bodies but does not examine foreign decisions themselves. It includes discussion of alternative review bodies in other jurisdictions, such as specialist mental health courts, as a basis for comparison with the New Zealand tribunal system. The literature review also incorporates international research on how procedural fairness benefits the relationship between service users and health providers. The broad literature review offers a framework to understand the importance of unqualified descriptive terms in mental health proceedings in New Zealand.
The research project has a narrower focus, but is informed by the broader literature review. It is an analysis of recurring unqualified descriptive terms in 25 recent written decisions of the New Zealand Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT).