Section 7 – Guardianship

Section 7 order are rare, but when granted they allow the guardian (usually social services) certain powers. Including making the person reside at a certain location or the require said person to specific places for medical treatment, schooling or training.

If you have been detained under Section 7 of the Mental Health Act – Guardianship, and wish to seek legal advice, Youngs Law can help.

To be detained under Section 7 Mental Health 1983 (as amended) (MHA 1983), you must meet the following criteria and be at least 16 years old:

  1. You must be suffering from a mental disorder of a nature and/or degree which warrants your reception into Guardianship.
  2. A Guardianship order is necessary in the interests of your welfare or for the protection of other people.

An Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) must apply if it is considered that you meet the legal criteria and need to be cared for under a Section 7 Guardianship order. Your Nearest Relative can also apply. The AMHP must also have recommendations from 2 doctors that you meet the Section 7 MHA 1983 criteria.

If you feel that your detention is unjust and you do not meet the following criteria, get in touch with our Mental Health Solicitors by filling out a contact form or calling them on 033 33 582 587. 

This data will only be used by Youngs Law for processing your query and for no other purpose.

What is Section 7 – Guardianship?

Section 7 – Guardianship is when an application has been made by mental health professionals who believe an individual is suffering from a mental disorder of a type of severity which warrants the persons reception into Guardianship.

The application is then granted as it has been deemed necessary in the interests of the person’s welfare or for the protection of others that they be subject to a Guardianship order.

Often, the Guardianship is appointed to the local social services authority. The order gives them power that allowed them to require a person to:

  • Live in a particular place
  • Attend medical or other appointments
  • Meet with their psychiatrist or other mental health professionals

If a person goes missing, the police are able to return the person to their place of residence. If other people are deemed to prevent the person from complying with the requirements of their Guardianship order, it is an offence.

You can not be treated with medication without the person’s consent on a Guardianship order.

A Guardianship order does not authorise any deprivation of the person’s liberty.

Detention Duration:

You can be detained under Section 7 of the Mental Health Act for an initial period of up to 6 months. If it is considered that you meet the requirements for Guardianship after the initial 6 month period, it may be extended for a further 6 months. This decision will be made by your doctor.

If after the second 6 month period your doctors still feels that you require Guardianship, they may choose to extend your section for a further year. From here it can then be renewed annually.


Under Section 7 of the Mental Health Act, you cannot be given medication against your wishes and must consent to any treatments you receive. If there is a requirement for you or a relative to attend a certain place for medical treatment, you can be taken there but you will still have the decision on whether or not to take the treatment.

This could, however, result in you being detained under a different Section of the Mental Health Act 1983 and admitted to hospital.


You can be discharged from hospital under Section 7 by any of the following:

  • Your doctor (in hospital when you are detained)
  • Your Nearest Relative
  • The Tribunal

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