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.  Created in 1964 and organized under Mental Hygiene Law article 47, the Service represents individuals in judicial and administrative proceedings concerning admission, retention, transfer, treatment and guardianship. 

In addition to handling judicial proceedings, the Service 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 guardianship proceedings and represents respondents in proceedings commenced under the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act.

For assistance, contact MHLS through a Departmental Office:

First Judicial Department

(Counties served:  Bronx and Manhattan)

TEL:  646-386-5891

 Second Judicial Department

(Counties served:  Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester)

TEL:   516-493-3976

 Third Judicial Department

(Counties served: Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, and Washington)

TEL:  518- 451 -8710

 Fourth Judicial Department

(Counties served:  Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates)

TEL:  585-530-3050