What is a nearest relative?

Nearest relative is a special term used in the Mental Health Act 1983. It gives one member of your family rights and responsibilities if you are:

  • detained in hospital under sections 2, 3, 4 or 37
  • under a community treatment order, or 
  • under a guardianship.

Your nearest relative is not the same as your next of kin. The next of kin doesn’t have any rights under the Mental Health Act.

Nearest relative is an important safeguard for people who are affected by the Mental Health Act. The nearest relative is another way of making sure that your rights are protected when you are unwell and it is normally someone that you trust.

Who is my nearest relative?

Section 26 of the Mental Health Act 1983 sets out who will be your nearest relative. The list is in strict order and the person who is highest on the list is your nearest relative. 

Also, the nearest relative must:

  • be over 18 unless they are your mother, father, husband, wife or civil partner
  • live in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man unless you normally live abroad too.

What happens if I do not have anyone to act as nearest relative?

If you do not have  someone who can act as nearest relative then Dewis CIL can take up that role. We will require a referral form to be completed along with a spot purchase form as it is a chargeable service.

Make a Spot Purchase referral