Video 5 - What to Expect at a Guardianship and Administration Hearing Transcript

Narrator: If someone has applied to have a guardian or administrator appointed for another person, the State Administrative Tribunal will hold a hearing to decide whether to do so. This video explains what happens at that hearing.

Guardianship and administration appointments are made for people who through illness, disability, or injury can't make decisions to look after their health and safety or financial affairs.

Guardianship appointments relate to personal decisions, which include things like medical decisions, where a person lives or what services they might need.

Administration orders relate to financial matters.

An application can be made for the appointment of a guardian, an administrator, or for both. At the hearing, a number of people may be present.

Usually, the person who made the application, will be there. They are called the applicant. Generally, unless there is a reason not to be there, the person who is said to require a guardian or an administrator should also be at the hearing.

Sometimes that person's family members or friends will also be present. Sometimes a doctor or other professional, who has knowledge about the person will attend to give evidence.

At some hearings someone from the Office of the Public Advocate or from the Public Trustee will also be present. People may attend the hearing in person, or they may attend using a telephone or video link.

Once everyone is seated in the hearing room, the tribunal member will enter and the hearing begins. All hearings are recorded. Prior to the hearing, the tribunal will have received the application for a guardianship or administration order and reports about the person's ability to make personal or financial decisions.

The tribunal member will let the people present at the hearing know what information has been received. This information is confidential and not allowed to be repeated outside of the hearing room.

The hearing is run in an informal way, as guided by the member. Each of the people present, including the person for whom the application has been made, will be given a chance to tell the member any information they think will help them to decide whether the person needs a guardian or an administrator, and if so, what kinds of decisions they may need to make.

The tribunal's main concern is the best interest of the person about whom the application is made. In considering the application, the tribunal member will start with the presumption that the person is capable of looking after their own personal and financial affairs.

Only if it is shown that the person is not capable will the tribunal member consider appointing a guardian or an administrator. If the tribunal member decides that a guardian or administrator should be appointed, they will appoint someone capable of this important role, and able to make decisions that are in the best interests of the person.

Sometimes a family member or close friend of the person may be capable of performing that role and willing to be appointed. But if there is no one who is suitable and willing to be appointed, the tribunal can appoint the Public Advocate as a guardian and the Public Trustee can be appointed as an administrator.

In many cases, the tribunal member will be able to make a decision about the application at the end of the hearing. If so, the member will state what they have decided and why they have reached their decision.

If the member decides to appoint a guardian or an administrator they'll make formal orders which name them, describe the kinds of decisions they're able to make, and set the term of the appointment.

After the hearing is completed, the tribunal will provide everyone who was present with a copy of any orders made at the hearing.

The maximum period for an appointment of a guardian or an administrator is five years. The tribunal member may decide to make a shorter appointment, particularly if the circumstances may change.

At the end of the term of the appointment, the tribunal must review the order, to decide if a guardian or administrator is still needed. A person who has a guardian or an administrator appointed, or any person with an interest in that decision, may ask the tribunal to review the orders if there is a change in circumstances.

A person can also ask for a guardianship or administration order to be reviewed if they're not satisfied with it. A review of that kind is undertaken by three members of the tribunal, one of whom must be a judge.