Applying for guardianship

Anyone who has a genuine concern for the welfare of a person with a mental disability can make an application to the Tribunal.

The Tribunal's office must be contacted for advice before an application is lodged.

When you contact the Tribunal's office, an officer of the Tribunal will discuss the issues with you and advise on whether a formal application is the appropriate course or if other less restrictive alternatives should be pursued.

The Tribunal's phone number is (03) 6165 7500.

More information about the Tribunal's role and processes is available from the Tribunal's website.

Making an application

Applications for guardianship must be made to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal).

To apply, you need to:

  • Complete an Application for Guardianship
  • Identify who you think should be appointed as guardian (private guardian or the Public Guardian) and why you think the person needs a guardian
  • Provide evidence of the person’s disability and impaired decision making capacity with the application. You can do this by asking a medical practitioner or psychologist to complete a Health Care Professional Report *.
  • Send it to the Tribunal

There is no cost to make an application for guardianship.

* If you are unable to obtain a report from a healthcare professional, you can provide a statement to the Tribunal outlining the reasons why you have been unable to do so. All efforts to obtain a report should be made.

What is the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal - protective division, guardianship stream (the Tribunal) is an independent statutory body that has the authority to appoint guardians and administrators for adults who have decision-making disabilities.

On receipt of an application, the Tribunal will invite relevant people to attend a hearing where everyone – most importantly the person who the application is about - will have an opportunity to have their say.

For more information about the Tribunal, or if you are attending a hearing and want to know what to expect, you can visit the Tribunal's website.

What decisions can the Tribunal make?

The Tribunal has broad functions and authority in relation to arrangements for adults with disabilities who need assistance with decision-making. Depending on the type of application and whether the relevant legal criteria are met, the Tribunal can:

  • Make, amend or revoke a guardianship or administration order
  • Revoke or amend an instrument of enduring guardianship or enduring power of attorney , or determine the instrument is not valid
  • Give advice or directions to a guardian, administrator, or person acting under an enduring power of attorney about things like their authority to make a particular decision or to approve certain actions being taken
  • Consent to medical treatment
  • Approve restrictive interventions under the Disability Services Act 2011
What if there is an urgent need for a guardian?

In urgent circumstances you can request the Tribunal to make an emergency order. Generally, an emergency order can be made on the same day.

Only the Public Guardian can be appointed as a person’s guardian under an emergency order, unless the person already has a guardian and the guardian urgently needs additional powers.

More information about emergency orders can be found on the emergency applications page.

Can I bring a lawyer or an advocate to a hearing?

The applicant and the person subject to an application are both allowed to have legal representation. Other interested parties must seek the approval of the Tribunal to bring a lawyer to the hearing.

However most people do not choose to have legal representation at hearings of the Tribunal. Hearings are less formal than courts and the Tribunal has a responsibility to seek the views of the person and to encourage their participation in the hearing.

You can find more information about your right to representation before the Tribunal on the Tribunal's website.

Guardianship orders

A guardianship order is an order made by the Tribunal that appoints a person as a guardian. The guardianship order gives legal authority for the guardian to make decisions on behalf of an adult with a disability and sets out what types of decisions (for example, accommodation, health care, support services, NDIS) the guardian can make.

Guardianship orders normally limit the areas a guardian can make decisions based on the need of the person with a disability. In more complex circumstances a guardian can be appointed under a ‘full’ or ‘plenary’ order where there is a need for many decisions about all or most areas of the person’s life, however this is very rare.

A guardianship order does not give authority for the guardian to make decisions about a person’s finances or estate.

How long can a guardian be appointed for?

The Tribunal decides the length of an order, normally up to a maximum of three years. The Tribunal will make an order for the shortest period possible based on the need and circumstances of the person with a disability.

What happens at the end of an order?

The Tribunal can review an order by holding another hearing and can decide to extend it for a further period of time or make changes to the order. This does not happen automatically and an appropriate person needs to make an application to the Tribunal to have the order reviewed before it expires.

If there is no further need for an order it will be allowed to expire.

What if I'm not happy with the Tribunal's decision?

If you do not agree with a decision made by the Tribunal, you can write to the Tribunal requesting a ‘Statement of Reasons’. This outlines what information the Tribunal considered and how it reached a decision about making (or not making) an order. This request must be made within 21 days of the hearing.

If you are still unhappy with the decision after considering the Statement of Reasons, further information about options for review and appeal can be found on the Tribunal's website.

What if I think there is no longer a need for a guardian?

Anyone with a genuine interest (including a person under guardianship) can ask the Tribunal to review an existing order. The Tribunal is not obliged to review an order, but will generally do so if the application indicates that:

  • there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was made
  • the criteria required to make an order are no longer met (e.g. the person has gained decision-making capacity or there is no longer a need for a guardian)

The relevant forms required to apply for a review can be found on the Tribunal's website.

Updated: 18th October 2022