Compulsory psychiatric admission

In addition to providing legal assistance in criminal proceedings, Marielle van Essen also specialises in assisting in so-called ‘compulsory admission to psychiatric hospital’ cases. These are cases involving clients who have been or are threatened with involuntary admission to a psychiatric institution. This is often a time in our clients’ lives when they can feel extremely vulnerable. Admission is generally experienced as drastic and extremely upsetting. For this reason, this group of clients deserve our special attention.

If a client or someone on their behalf calls us for a case like this, this is how we set to work. First we approach the court as the succeeding lawyer and try to get all the necessary documents for the case. We first study the documents thoroughly so that we can ascertain what the reasons for the admission, or imminent admission, are.

After that, we visit our clients as soon as possible, either at the clinic or at their home. During the visit, we explain calmly and clearly what the issue is and what the legal options are. If the client so wishes, we can involve family or friends in the process. Together we always look for alternatives to involuntary admission. If possible, we also prepare for the court session straight away.

For cases involving compulsory admission to psychiatric hospitals, the judge comes to the client’s house or to the clinic where the client is currently staying. It makes no difference where it is in the Netherlands. We’ll come to you. During this ‘session’, we assist our clients by formulating their position on their behalf. The client is also free to air their view of the involuntary admission. Also present at the session are the person handling the case, the doctor and a clerk of the court, who records everything discussed during the session on behalf of the judge. What not many people are aware of is that family members and friends are also entitled to attend the session, in support of the client or if they feel they can contribute to the session in other respects.

We can also assist you in certain cases if problems arise during the admission. For instance, if a request for early discharge is refused. Or if you object to a request for compulsory medication. You can always call Ms Van Essen to see whether there is anything that we can do for you.

We handle cases involving compulsory admission for a fee, but also on a pro bono basis. We do so to ensure that these clients can get the best possible assistance, irrespective of their budget.

Our work for compulsory admission cases includes:

  • duty lawyer visits if someone is committed
preparation and attending sessions if the admission is extended
preparation and attending sessions for interim authorisations or if the interim authorisation is extended
preparation and attending sessions for conditional authorisation
preparation and attending sessions for the conversion of a conditional authorisation to an interim authorisation
preparation and attending sessions to object to a rejection of a request for an interim discharge
preparation and attending hearings to object to an application for compulsory medication

Ms Van Essen is a member of several professional organisations in the field of psychiatric patients law. She regularly attends the meetings convened by the professional organisation for lawyers involved in compulsory admission cases in Amsterdam. She also follows the necessary courses regarding psychiatric illness and the Psychiatric Hospitals (Compulsory Admissions) Act. For this reason, Ms Van Essen has been recognised by the Amsterdam District Court as being a specialised lawyer in the field of compulsory admission to psychiatric hospitals. She acts in this capacity throughout the Netherlands.



  • Criminal organisations
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