The Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023 (WA)

The Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023 (WA)

The Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023 (WA)

The Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023 (WA) (‘CLMIA 2023’) was passed by Parliament in March 2023 and is expected to commence operation on 1 September 2024. 

CLMIA repeals the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 in its entirety and establishes a new scheme forWestern Australia’s mentally impaired accused laws. 

The purpose of CLMIA is to:

    • make provision in relation to criminal proceedings involving persons with mental impairment;
    • provide for special criminal proceedings for persons who are unfit to stand trial;
    • provide for the supervision of persons who, in special criminal proceedings, are found to have committed and offence;
    • provide for the supervision of persons acquitted on account of mental impairment; and to provide for the safe reintegration into the community of persons supervised under this Act; and
    • repeal the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 and the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Regulations 1997; and for related purposes.

Education Programme for the Legal Profession on Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023 (WA)

In 2023 the Law Society of Western Australia, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, Aboriginal Legal Services WA, Legal Aid WA and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,  launched an education programme on CLMIA. Seminars delivered will be made accessible to practitioners via the Law Society’s on-demand seminar platform, CPD Online. 

Seminar One: Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023 Launch

Delivered on Wednesday 23 August 2023.

The first seminar provided an overview of CLMIA,  including the safeguards and protections for the rights and interests of mentally impaired accused, the transitional arrangements, and explored prosecution and defence perspectives on the new legislative scheme. 

The seminar was presented by:

  • Hon John Quigley MLA, Attorney General of Western Australia
  • Robert Owen, Director of Public Prosecutions Western Australia
  • Andrew Robson, A/Director of Legal Aid Western Australia
  • Chair: David Davidson, Senior State Prosecutor, Department of Public Prosecutions

Seminar Two: Criminal Law (Mental Impairment) Act 2023: Hospital Orders and Fitness to Stand Trial

Delivered on Wednesday 1 November 2023.

The second seminar covered hospital orders and the options in relation to clients who present as being mentally unwell. It also addressed the criteria for the determination of fitness to stand trial, expert evidence, and a prosecution perspective on the process of determination. 

This seminar was presented by:

  • Ben Stanwix, Consultant State Prosecutor, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions WA
  • Dr Elizabeth Tate, Head of Clinical Service, State Forensic Mental Health Service Services
  • Helen Loreck, Solicitor, Disability Legal WA
  • Natalie Sinton, Acting Managing Solicitor, Criminal Law Division, Legal Aid WA
  • Chair: Dominico Fernandes, Executive Director of Legislative Services, Department of Justice

The Law Society will be running three further education sessions in 2024.  Further details will be published on this page in due course and communicated to practitioners in our fortnightly newsletter, CPD News.

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