Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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vi. Medical reports

You can request a medical report at a defendant’s first appearance in court and at any point during court proceedings, under various provisions. The legal adviser will be able to advise which is most appropriate.

The provisions include:

  1. Section 11 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 enables you to adjourn/remand for medical reports for a defendant, who has not been convicted, but who you are satisfied did the act or made the omission charged and that you are of the opinion that an inquiry ought to be made into his/her physical or mental condition.
  2. Section 11 (3) requires the court to impose a condition of bail requiring the accused to:

    • undergo medical examination by a registered medical practitioner or, where the inquiry is into his mental condition and the court so directs, two such practitioners; and
    • for that purpose attend such an institution or place, or on such practitioner, as the court directs and, where the inquiry is into his or her mental condition, comply with any other directions which may be given to him for that purpose by any person specified by the court or by a person of any class so specified.
  3. Section 35 of the Mental Health Act 1983 enables a magistrates’ court to remand a defendant to a specified hospital (with agreement of the hospital) to enable a report to be prepared on his/her mental condition. The remand to hospital under this provision may take place only if the following conditions are met:

    • the offence in issue is punishable on summary conviction with imprisonment
    • the court is satisfied, on the written or oral evidence of a registered medical practitioner, that there is reason to suspect that the defendant is suffering from mental disorder.

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