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Mental Hygiene Legal Service First Department

The MHLS was founded in 1964 and is organized under section 47 of the Mental Hygiene Act and represents these persons in judicial and administrative proceedings relating to licensing, detention, transfer, treatment and guardianship. In addition to handling court cases, the MHLS provides advice and representation regarding standards of care and other matters affecting the civil liberties of carers in institutions for the mentally disabled. The MHLS may be used as legal counsel or judicial expert in guardianship proceedings under the Mental Health Act under section 81 for persons in any type of institution or in the community (link to the website “Counsel to Children – Guardianship Section to be determined”). Finally, section 10 of the Mental Health Act institutionalizes the MHLS as the adviser of choice in all civil administrative cases of sex offenders. MHLS for the First Judicial Department covers New York County and Bronx County and maintains nine local offices in both counties in addition to its department office. The Mental Health Legal Service (MHLS) provides legal services, counselling and support to persons treated or suspected of needing care in hospitals and community facilities for the mentally handicapped. For more information: www.courts.state.ny.us/COURTS/AD1/Committees&Programs/MHLS/index.shtml.

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