The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 commenced on September 1, 2023. The Law Handbook is updated annually, with the next update due in early 2024. In the meantime, for up-to-date information on the new Act, please visit the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 Handbook on the Department of Health’s website.


Lucy Carter

Lawyer, Mental Health Legal Centre

Forensic patients

Who are forensic patients?

Forensic patients are people who are either:

  • subject to supervision orders (supervision orders last for an indefinite time, and can be custodial or non-custodial);
  • on remand under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) (‘CMIUT Act’); 
  • ordered under the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (‘Crimes Act (Cth)’) to be detained in safe custody in prison or in a hospital for a specified period (‘Commonwealth forensic patients’).

Fitness to stand trial and acquittal

The CMIUT Act deals with the procedures at a criminal trial in the Supreme Court or the County Court where the accused’s fitness to stand trial is in question, or where the defence of not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment is raised.

Whereas, Division 7 of Part 1B of the Crimes Act (Cth) deals with acquittal because of mental illness. 


Part 12 of the Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) deals with forensic patients and the criteria and process around being taken to another designated mental health service and applying to the Mental Health Tribunal for review of such a decision. (See Chapter 8.3: Disability and criminal justice.)

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Disability, mental illness and the law