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Postgraduate Taught

PGCert Professional Practice in Mental Health Law (Trainee MPAC)

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code
Duration 18 months full time
Entry year 2024 (February/March start)
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Psychology
Typical offer

View full entry requirements

Applicants must be working in a relevant profession

Contextual offers


  • This course provides a structure and background to accomplish the qualification of approved clinician and to guide you through the completion of your portfolio.
  • Learn through a combination of on-campus and remote learning. We also support action learning sets which can take place remotely or in your area with fellow colleagues from your Trust.
  • Benefit from working with people from a broad range of professions. Registered nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists can become MPACs, and you will also be studying with SAS doctors. The feedback we have had is that students gain so much from studying with and learning from other professions.
  • Teaching staff include a qualified solicitor who is an accredited member of the Law Society’s mental health panel, and a Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychologist who is a practicing MPAC.  
  • We support and guide you through the process of becoming a qualified MPAC, including guidance around suitable supervision, teaching of the up-to-date law, relevant assessments which mirror the portfolio process and practical discussion through action learning sets.

Who this course is for

The course is primarily aimed at those people who are training to become qualified MPACs. However, this course is also suitable for SAS doctors who wish to have an understanding of the role and responsibility of the approved clinician and responsible clinician.

View 2024 Entry

Clinical Education Development and Research (CEDAR)



Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 31 22

This programme is delivered by Clinical Education, Development and Research (CEDAR): an applied psychological practice centre of excellence, focussed on training the new psychological therapies workforce of the future.

Competency-based training, delivered according to the latest evidence-informed clinical pedagogic approaches

Dedicated training facilities equipped with video and audio recording

A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon your personal and professional development

Course content

Teaching of Mental Health Law 

We will cover the following:

  • The role and responsibility of the Approved Clinician / Responsible Clinician
  • Key statutory terms
  • The Legal frame works and criteria for detention
  • Holding powers
  • Section 17 leave
  • CTOs
  • Consent to treatment
  • Interface between the MCA and the MHA

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the role, legal responsibilities and key function of an Approved Clinician and Responsible Clinician
  2. Demonstrate an applied knowledge of mental health legislations, related codes of practice and national and local policy and guidance in relation to the trainee MPAC role
  3. Explain and reflect upon ethical, legal and commercial issues which may arise in mental health context in relation to the trainee MPAC role
  4. Analyse complex situations and problems in mental health field with specific reference to the Trainee MPAC role
  5. Use supervision and personal reflection as a means to improve your personal effectiveness as demonstrated in the reflective assessments in relation to the Trainee MPAC role.

Teaching and research

Learning through Action Learning Sets 

You will have a qualified MPAC or Mental Health Lawyer who will take you through nine Action Learning Sets (ALSs).  Action Learning Sets provide a powerful approach to solving clinical problems. 

An Action Learning Set is a group of people within a workplace or organisation that meet with the specific intention of solving workplace problems. The main aim of the ALS is to come away with a set of realistic actions that will help to solve or understand the issue at hand. The four main principles of an ALS are that it should be open, reflective, practical and shared.  It is usually made up of between six to eight individuals and groups stay together for the duration of the course. 

Overview of assessments

Please note: This course is currently in development and assessments listed here are subject to change over the coming months.

Learning Needs Plan/proposal:  

You will identify your learning objectives and be able to discuss those learning objectives with your tutor.   

Training Reflective Log: 

A record and evidence of CPD activities undertaken including evidence of attendance and information gathered. To include a reflective commentary evaluating the learning activities undertaken and how the knowledge and skills developed on the module have been used in the workplace and for personal and professional development. 

An essay:

An outline of the role of the AC/RC and its responsibilities. Students should show their understanding of the role and what is required of the RC and the AC. Students should be able to discuss incidents when they have carried out these responsibilities under supervision.

A statutory report: 

An anonymised or hypothetical statutory report for the First Tier Tribunal, or Managers hearing which you have prepared.  

An anonymised, concise, case commentary:  

Relating to your involvement in the care of a detained patient, which should demonstrate your awareness, understanding and reflection on key areas of applied AC competence, and the guiding principles of the Code of Practice.   

Supervision and Mentoring Log: 

Providing a reflective log of service-based supervision and mentoring throughout the programme .

Mock Tribunal role play: 

You will have the opportunity to present your statutory report to a mock tribunal made up of a judge and a medical member.  You will be cross-examined on the evidence you give and have the opportunity to improve and receive feedback on your advocacy skills. 

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Teaching staff

Teaching is carried out by a qualified solicitor who is an accredited member of the Law Society’s mental health panel, and a Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychologist who is a practicing MPAC. 

During the course, sessions are provided by a Judge of the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) and a tribunal medical member.

We also provide two sessions with members of Winterhead, our local panel, who give guidance on the structure and content of the portfolio.

Find out more about teachers on the course in the gallery below.

Entry requirements

Applicants must be in one of the following professions:

  • Social worker
  • Registered mental health nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Occupational therapist.
  • SAS doctor

You must have sufficient experience of managing patients subject to the Mental Health Act.

How to apply

Any application must be made through your employing clinical service.

Please note it is not possible to apply directly to the University of Exeter as you are required to be employed within a clinical service in order to participate in the course.


This course is funded by Health Education England, so fees are not payable by candidates. 


This programme allows you to develop the skills and knowledge required to become an Approved Clinician.  The course timetable and assessments are aimed at preparing you for the demanding role as an AC. The course will also provide important guidance in how to put together your portfolio