12 November 2009 Guardianship Tribunal Applications - What you need to know

By Caroline Bass, Senior Associate

The Tribunal

Pursuant to the Guardianship Act NSW 1987, the Guardianship Tribunal has the authority to appoint both Financial Managers and Guardians for people with decision-making disabilities.

Prior to making any order in relation to Financial Management or Guardianship, the Tribunal will conduct a hearing. The hearing is an opportunity for the applicant, the person who is the subject of the application, as well as other interested persons, to present their views.

In making its decision, the Tribunal will consider reports from medical and health professional.

Financial Management orders

A person who is successful in obtaining a financial management order from the Tribunal is known as a Financial Manager. A Financial Manager is someone who is legally authorised to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of a person who is not capable of managing their own affairs.

The Financial Manager can make decisions about any aspect of the person’s financial affairs unless the Tribunal specifies that a part of a person’s estate is excluded from management. A Financial Manager does not make personal or lifestyle decisions.

The Tribunal can only consider financial management applications about people who have assets in NSW.

Guardianship orders

A person who is successful in obtaining a Guardianship order from the Tribunal is known as a Guardian. A Guardian is someone who is legally authorised to make personal or lifestyle decisions on behalf of a person with a decision-making disability. A Guardian is not authorised to make financial decisions, though it is possible for someone to be appointed as a Guardian and Financial Manager for the same person.

The kinds of decisions a Guardian can be authorised to make include:

  • Where the person should live;
  • What support services the person should use; and
  • What healthcare and medical treatment the person should receive

A Guardian is a substitute decision-maker not a case manager or carer.

The Tribunal can only consider Guardianship applications about people who are resident in NSW and over the age of 16 years.

Can you be legally represented at the Tribunal?

Generally no. If you wish to be legally represented you will need to seek special leave from the Tribunal.

How can Swaab Attorneys help?

A Guardianship Tribunal Hearing can be extremely stressful and emotional for all parties involved. You should seek legal advice if:

  • you are considering making an application to the Tribunal; or
  • you have been served with the application and oppose it; or
  • you are the subject of an application.

Swaab can assist you with:

  • Advice on the application process ;
  • Preparing you application;
  • Applying for special leave to be legally represented; and
  • Appearing at the hearing on your behalf.

For further information please contact:

Caroline Bass, Partner  |  Phone: +61 2 9233 5544  |  Email:

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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