- A defined process must be followed when applying for a detention and treatment order under the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 (the Act).
- The Magistrates' Court may only make a detention and treatment order in very limited circumstances.
- Any person over the age of 18 can make an application to the Magistrates' Court to have a person placed under a detention and treatment order, provided certain criteria are met.
- Alcohol and other drug services should assist the person subject to the order and the applicant to get expert advice.
- An overview of the process for making an application, and the process during the Magistrates' Court hearing is provided on this page and in the information sheet, Summary of procedure for making an application for a detention and treatment order.
Process for making an application for an order
Any adult person over 18 years can apply to the Magistrates' Court for a person to be placed on a detention and treatment order.
Step 1: Obtaining a recommendation for a detention and treatment order from a doctor
The prescribed registered medical practitioner must also discuss the case with the senior clinician at the treatment centre (currently St Vincent's Health) prior to making a recommendation.
Step 2: Making the application to the Magistrates' Court
The application must be made within 72 hours of when the recommendation from the prescribed registered medical practitioner was signed. The Court cannot accept a recommendation that is more than 72 hours old.
Step 3: Giving copies of the application to other people
- the person named as the respondent in the application -- the application must be provided in person within 24 hours of the application being made
- the manager of the treatment centre where the person will be detained and treated -- the application can be provided in person or by fax. If the applicant chooses to serve documents by fax, they must call the treatment centre to ensure that the application was received
- the person's guardian (if they have one) - wherever possible the application should be provided to the person's guardian in person. If hand delivery is not possible, fax or email are also acceptable. The applicant should call the guardian to ensure that a faxed or emailed copy was received.
Step 4: Before the hearing at the Magistrates' Court
As soon as possible before the hearing, the treatment centre must provide a certificate of available services to the Magistrates' Court. The certificate provides information about what facilities and services are available at the treatment centre for the treatment of the person.
Step 5: The hearing at the Magistrates' Court
The magistrate has to decide whether the criteria for making a detention and treatment order apply to the person. It is the responsibility of the applicant to establish that each of the criteria applies.
The magistrate may delay the hearing if necessary. This may include allowing the person more time to get legal help or a copy of the application to be given to the person's guardian, if this has not been done.
- that the whole or a part of the hearing be held in a closed court (which limits who can be in the courtroom during the hearing)
- prohibit or restrict the publication/broadcasting of the hearing or any evidence or matters contained in documents given during the hearing.
Step 6: Arranging transport to the treatment centre
Telephone: (03) 9231 2211
The ambulance should be booked no more than 24 hours before it is required. The applicant must be present when the ambulance arrives and able to show them a copy of the detention and treatment order signed by the magistrate.
Step 7: Admission to the treatment centre
The person will be detained and treated for up to 14 days, depending on their circumstance.
Family members or friends of the person can ask to be involved in the treatment. They should talk to a member of staff about this. They can also give support to the person when they are discharged from the treatment centre if the person agrees.
Step 8: Post release
St Vincent's Health staff will notify the relevant alcohol and other drugs treatment provider when the person is about to be discharged and this service will engage with the client to assist them during this period and beyond. In many cases an alcohol and other drugs worker will be at the discharge meeting.
Reviewed 09 September 2015