Last updated 31 January 2018

In general, a person can only be treated for illness or injury with their consent. Consent is often implied—if you are unwell and go to the doctor, it is assumed that you consent to treatment. Consent is also implied in the case of a person who has been in an accident and is unconscious or unable to consent.

Even in the case of mental illness, the general principle that treatment requires the patient’s consent applies. However, in some cases, the law adopts the approach that involuntary treatment can be given for mental illness on the basis that, because of the illness, the patient does not have the capacity to consent and treatment is in the patient’s best interests. There are a number of requirements that must be satisfied before involuntary treatment can be given on this basis. These requirements are set out in the Mental Health Act 2016 (Qld), which also makes provisions for involuntary assessment if it is necessary to determine whether a person needs treatment for mental illness.