What is NCAT and how can it affect me?

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NCAT stands for New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal. They provide a specialist range of legal services for a broad range of legal issues including guardianship matters, issues relating to tenancy and building works, discrimination and equal opportunities, consumers and traders and more. 

This article explains how NCAT may affect your application for guardianship of someone who suffers from impaired decision making ability. 

NCAT and Guardianship Orders 

The Guardianship Act of 1987 governs the appointment of guardianship for those dealing with decision making disability. According to NCAT orders, the guardian is legally allowed to make decisions that impact the individual’s accommodation, health, support service and other general lifestyle matters. 

The following principles govern NCAT orders with regard to guardianship:

  • The well being of the person with disabilities should always be given top priority 
  • The aim must be to maximise their freedom to the extent possible 
  • As far as possible, they should be encouraged to lead a normal life within the community
  • While acting for them, their views must always be taken into consideration 
  • They should always be protected from neglect, exploitation and abuse 
  • Family relationships, linguistic and cultural environments must be preserved

Who Is a Guardian?

A guardian is a person legally authorised to make decisions on behalf of a person with a lack of cognition or disabled decision-making ability. Please be aware that guardians are not allowed to make financial decisions. In order to be able to make financial decisions, they should be appointed as financial manager. 

In NSW, the guardian should be an adult over the age of 16. NCAT will appoint someone as the guardian only if they find that the person is suitable for the role and compatible with the person in question. NCAT must also be satisfied that the applicant does not have any conflict of interest with the person for whom decisions may need to be made. 

How Is a Guardian Appointed?

An adult can apply for guardianship or NCAT is legally authorised to appoint a guardian out of its own initiative. Once the application is lodged in court, the party will be given a hearing date when NCAT will consider the evidence presented. NCAT will also seek to involve the person the application concerns in the decision to the maximum extent possible. 

If you apply for guardianship, you can also be represented by a lawyer at the hearing. 

Review of Guardianship Orders under NCAT 

Guardians may be appointed up to a period of three years. However, NCAT may specify that the applicant should be assessed at any specified time during guardianship. At the expiration of the period of the order, NCAT must review the guardianship with respect to:

  • The person under guardianship
  • The guardian 
  • Another person who is a genuine well-wisher or interested in the person’s welfare 

If you require legal representation or advice regarding application for guardianship, please contact Owen Hodge Lawyers for more information. Our highly experienced litigation team can help you with NCAT disputes with regard to guardianship. 


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