The Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS) provides legal services, advice
and assistance to persons receiving care or alleged to be in need of care
at inpatient and community-based facilities for individuals with mental disabilities and certain patients or residents of residential health care facilities.
Created in 1964 and organized under Mental Hygiene Law article 47, MHLS
represents such persons in judicial and administrative proceedings concerning
admission, retention, transfer, treatment and guardianship. In addition
to handling judicial proceedings, MHLS provides advice and representation
regarding standards of care and other matters affecting the civil liberties
of persons receiving care at facilities for individuals with mental disabilities.
MHLS can also be assigned as counsel or court evaluator in Mental Hygiene
Law article 81 guardianship proceedings, and as counsel for respondents in proceedings commenced under the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (Mental Hygiene Law article 10).
MHLS for the Third Judicial Department has field offices in Albany, Binghamton,
Elmira, Kingston, Ogdensburg, Oneonta, Plattsburgh and Tupper Lake.