If a person can’t make his or her own decisions because of a legal incapacity, there might be people authorised by an Enduring Power of Attorney or by an Advance Care Directive (or similar document) to make those decisions.
If not, or if the people authorised cannot be found or refuse to act, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“VCAT”), or the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“SACAT”), depending on the Australian state in question, can make orders appointing guardians and administrators.
The Tribunals also have the jurisdiction to make and review treatment orders relating to people suffering from mental illness.
Other types of matters include:
We can provide advice and advocacy at every step of the process to protect rights and to ensure your voice is heard.
Anyone concerned with the care of a person can apply to the Tribunals. The applicant and the person about whom the application is made will be parties to the application. Other people with an interest in the application can also participate.
Applications are made online. If computer access or use is a problem, the Tribunals have officers you can telephone who will complete an application with you.
The Tribunals try to be user-friendly and informal so members of the public can represent themselves if they want to, but many benefit from the advice of a lawyer. We can provide as much or as little help as required, at any stage of proceedings.
There are two broad areas of orders: guardianship (which relates to medical and lifestyle matters) and administration (which relates to financial and legal matters).
Orders can be all-encompassing, or only relate to specific matters such as where someone lives. Some orders will give special powers to detain a person.
The Tribunals must be satisfied that a person has a mental incapacity before making any order, and the Tribunals must make the least restrictive order that will protect the person and their rights. Making guardianship or administration orders which take away a person’s ability to make their own decisions is a very serious step, and not one which will be taken without careful consideration and clear need.