Law for Mental Health Practitioners QLD


Date: 8 November 2017
Time: 8.45am – 5.15pm
Venue: Pullman King George Square, Brisbane
Cost: Early Bird: $595 (expires 12 October) Standard: $695. Prices include gst
CPD points: Available for psychologists, counsellors, nurses, lawyers

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8.15 Morning Coffee and Registration

8.55 Welcome from LawSense

8.45 Opening Remarks from the Morning Chairperson

Joanne Levin, Chief Executive Officer, Belmont Private Hospital

9.00     Assessing Decision-Making Capacity and Consent to Address Your Risks and Meet Current Obligations

  • Examining the legal elements required for decision making capacity and consent and reviewing recent changes regarding capacity in the Mental Health Act 2016
  • Assessing the limits of decision making capacity – is there capacity for some decisions, but not others and how is it viewed by the law?
  • Evaluating capacity where the patient has developmental issues
  • Understanding when a formal assessment of capacity is required and steps to take
  • Exploring the role of substitute decision makers and the Office of the Public Guardian

Stephanie Gallagher, Special Counsel, Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers

Assessing and Responding to Imminent Risk – Understanding When to Act and What You Can Legally Do

  • Examining the law relating to imminent risk of violence, suicide and sexual risk:
    • reviewing your rights and obligations with respect to the patient
    • what steps does the law require in assessing risk?
    • understanding the limits of your obligations with respect to third parties
  • Balancing imminent risk and confidentiality – when can you breach confidentiality?
  • Reviewing key considerations in detaining and transporting involuntary patients, including evaluating recent changes from the Mental Health Act 2016.

Megan Fairweather, Special Counsel, Minter Ellison Lawyers

Understanding and Navigating Family Law Issues Affecting Client Treatment and Your Professional Duties & Obligations

  • Reviewing orders and arrangements that can affect families:
    • Family Court orders
    • parenting plans
    • orders addressing domestic violence issues
  • Understanding what weight is given by courts to the child’s wishes
  • Reviewing the Court process and how conflicting evidence is dealt with by the Court
  • Examining circumstances where a mental health practitioner can interact with family law issues and understanding the potential legal impacts on the practitioner and families:
    • privacy and confidentiality – requests for clinical treatment notes and information by one party not involved in treatment
    • information from one party about the negative conduct of the other party that does not reach mandatory reporting thresholds
    • you are asked to provide a report by one of the parents in Family Court proceedings

Alison Ross, Partner, HopgoodGanim Lawyers; Accredited Specialist (Family Law) and Chair, Queensland Law Society Family Law Committee

Outlining Best Practice Clinical Note Taking and Record Keeping to Address Legal Issues and Risks

  • Reviewing current legal and professional obligations regarding note taking and record keeping
  • Understanding how your records, including notes, can be used in legal proceedings and how this can expose you to legal liability or disciplinary proceedings
  • Examining how the law applies to electronic records:
    • identifying potential pitfalls applying to electronic v paper based records, including confidentiality and privacy issues
    • does the availability of copy and paste and alerts potentially heighten legal exposure?
    • how do Courts and tribunals respond to and manage electronic evidence in investigations and proceedings
  • Writing what you observe and recording opinions – examining practices to address legal exposure
  • Exploring case studies and best practice in recording consent, discussions, quotes from clients, tasks given to clients and other interactions
  • Examining case studies and scenarios where records have not provided defensible documentation

Nicholas Gaffney, Practice Manager, Claims, Avant Mutual Group Limited

1.10 Closing Remarks from the Morning Chairperson
1.15 Lunch

2.00 Opening Remarks from the Afternoon Chairperson

Tracey Stenzel, Director of Notifications, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

2.05  Responding to Information Requests, Subpoenas and Preparing for Court Appearances

  • Reviewing some circumstances in which a mental health practitioner may be required to provide documents or be involved in Court action:
    • family law proceedings
    • Children’s Court
    • criminal proceedings against a client
    • worker’s compensation
    • coronial inquests
  • Obligations arising from subpoenas and impact on your professional duties
  • Limits of compliance requirements – what scope is there to refuse to produce documents specified in the subpoena?
  • Key steps in preparing for court appearances
  • Dealing with legal counsel to ensure you fulfil your professional responsibilities and protect your rights
  • How to prepare effectively for cross-examination

Danae Younger, Barrister-At-Law, Griffith Chambers, Queensland Bar

Examining Key Aspects in Writing an Effective and Defensible Report for Court

  • Reviewing approaches to treatment and assessment reports and understanding relevant court rules and requirements
  • To what extent should you set out facts and assumptions to support your opinions?
  • Exploring best practice in form, structure and language in your report
  • Responding to reports from opposing psychologists – how does the court navigate contradictory opinions?
  • Examining examples and case studies of “good” and “bad” reports and how these have been dealt with by Courts

Scott Ames, Principal, Meridian Lawyers

Supervising Staff and Contractors in Mental Health Practice: Understanding and Managing Potential Liability

  • Reviewing the rights and obligations of an employee versus independent contractor
  • Understanding how having professional staff or contractors affects your duty of care and professional obligations
  • Understanding the degree of supervision required to address your legal obligations and liability
  • Practical strategies and approaches to implement to avoid breaching duties and to mitigate potential liability

David Quinn, Partner, CRH Law; Accredited Specialist, Workplace Law

5.10 Closing Remarks from the Chairperson

5.15 Close of Seminar

Presenters / panelists include:

Stephanie_Gallagher_photoStephanie Gallagher has more than 20 years experience acting for health industry clients and in the regulation of the health professions. Stephanie has advised in respect of the regulation of the health professions for health care providers, the Boards and Registrants. She was a member of the Nursing Council and Chair of the Queensland Interim Medical Board in Qld (QMING), the Boards of St Andrew’s War Memorial and QEII Hospitals. She sat as a member of an Institutional Ethics Committee at tertiary hospitals for more than 15 years.

Alison-Ross-webAlison Ross has worked exclusively in family law since 1996. She is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and was ranked a Leading lawyer in Doyle’s Guide to Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers – Brisbane in 2016 and 2017, and was listed as a leading Family Law practitioner in the Best Lawyers: Australia 2018 by the Australian Financial Review.

Placeholder-onlineNicholas Gaffney expertise extends across several medico-legal areas including civil liability, professional misconduct, coronial inquiries and Medicare. With experience as a solicitor, critical care/mental health nurse and paramedic, Nick’s skills underpin his understanding of the day to day clinical issues that arise in both the hospital and pre-hospital environment.

Tracey-Stenzel-webTracey Stenzel is the Director Notifications for the AHPRA (Qld office). She is responsible for ensuring the protection of the public by providing support to the National Boards in the management, assessment and investigation of complaints relating to the conduct, health and performance of registered health practitioners.

Danae-Younger-webDanae Younger’s practice as a barrister includes Criminal, Disciplinary, Family, Child Protection, Domestic Violence, Guardianship and Mental Health Law. She has also worked as a senior lawyer at the Office of the Public Guardian, including most recently during 2016, specialising in guardianship, mental health, criminal, domestic violence and child protection matters.

David-Quinn-webDavid Quinn has been in private practice in Brisbane since 2004, following a decade as a senior Cth public servant advising on industrial relations law. David provides advice and representation across all areas of employment and industrial law, and is one of Qld’s handful of Accredited Specialists in Workplace Relations Law.


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