Forensic Sections

You may have been admitted to hospital under what is called a Part 3 or forensic section. These sections are placed on someone to bring them to hospital in one of two ways. The first way is from a court of law. The second way is from a prison (either where you were on remand or are serving a sentence).

You were placed under section because it was felt by either the court of law or the prison authorities, who would have received advice from one or more doctors, that you would benefit from time spent in hospital to assess or treat your mental health problem.

If you were admitted under this kind of section a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the section you are under and any rights of appeal you have. The leaflet will also explain what happens next (after the assessment or treatment has finished), as in some cases you will leave hospital and return to court or prison.

Section 35

If you are under a Section 35 it is because a court of law has decided that you would benefit from spending time in hospital so that your mental health needs can be assessed. A Section 35 lasts for up to 28 days and can be extended but never for more than 12 weeks in total. During your time under this section the senior doctor on the ward will decide whether you have a serious mental health problem or not. In all cases you will need to go back to court.

If you were admitted under this section, a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the section you are under and any rights of appeal you have.

Section 36

If you are under a Section 36 it is because the Crown Court which is dealing with your case has decided that you need treatment for a serious mental health problem. A section 36 lasts for up to 28 days and can be extended but never for more than 12 weeks in total. During the time under Section 36 the senior doctor on the ward will provide treatment for you. In all cases, you will need to go back to court.

If you were admitted under this section, a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the section you are under and any rights of appeal you have.

Section 37 (without restrictions)

If you are under a Section 37, it is because a court of law (on the advice of two doctors) has decided that instead of going to prison, you would benefit from going to a hospital to receive treatment for a serious mental health problem. Section 37 lasts for up to six months and might be extended if the senior doctor on the ward decides that more time is needed for your treatment.

Unless you are told otherwise, this is a Section 37 without restrictions, which means that the senior doctor on the ward can end the Section 37 if he or she feels you are ready to be discharged. Before you leave hospital your needs should be assessed and an aftercare plan put together. This will be to help you to stay well in the community.

If you were admitted under this section, a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the section you are under and any rights of appeal you have.

Section 38

If you are under a Section 38, it means that a court of law has convicted you of a particular offence, but has not yet decided on your sentence. The reason for the delay is because two doctors have advised the court that time in hospital is needed to treat your serious mental health problem. This section lasts for up to 28 days, but can be extended, but never for more than a year in total.

In hospital, you will be looked after by a senior doctor who will see how you respond to treatment and advise the court when it decides what should happen next. The court may decide to place you under a Section 37 or send you to prison.

If you were admitted under this section, a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the Section you are under and any rights of appeal you have.

Section 37/41 (with restrictions)

If you are under a Section 37/41 it means that the Crown Court has decided that (on the advice of two doctors) instead of going to prison, you would benefit from going to a hospital to receive treatment for a serious mental health problem. The judge will have decided that, because of concerns about public safety, you need to be both Section 37 and also Section 41. Section 37 deals with treatment of your mental health problem.

The Section 41 (often called a Restriction Order) means the Secretary of State decides when you can be given leave and when you can leave hospital. If it is agreed that you can leave hospital, conditions will be attached to your discharge. This is called a conditional discharge and means that you could be brought back to hospital if you do not comply with these conditions.

Section 47

If you are under a Section 47 it means that you are a sentenced prisoner. On the advice of two doctors, the Secretary of State decided that you needed to spend time in hospital to have treatment for a serious mental health problem.

When the treatment finishes you will go back to prison. Most people under this section are also under Section 49 which means the Secretary of State decides when you return to prison.

If you are in hospital when your prison sentence ends it does not mean you are free to leave. This is because the Section 47 changes to what is called a 'notional' Section 37. If this happens, the doctor in charge of your care and treatment, decides when you can leave hospital.

If you were admitted under this section, a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the Section you are under and any rights of appeal you have.

Section 48

If you are under a Section 48 it means that you are a prisoner waiting to be sentenced. On the advice of two doctors, the Secretary of State decided that you needed to spend time in hospital to have treatment for a serious mental health problem. In most cases you will return to court for final sentencing. Most people under Section 48 are also under section 49

If you were admitted under this section, a nurse will have given you a leaflet explaining the Section you are under and any rights of appeal you have.

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