Guardianship and management of property cases

ACAT hears and decides applications that are made under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991.

ACAT can make a range of orders about guardianship and property management. For example, an order:

  • to appoint a person to be a guardian to make decisions in relation to a person’s health and welfare
  • to appoint a person to be a manager to make decisions in relation to a person’s property, including their finances
  • to appoint a person to be a manager to make decisions in relation to a missing person’s property
  • to appoint the Public Trustee and Guardian of the ACT (PTG) as guardian and/or manager on an emergency basis
  • in relation to an enduring power of attorney
  • to consent to a prescribed medical procedure
  • to recognise an interstate guardianship or management order.

Before you apply

Who can apply?

An application can be made to ACAT by anyone who has a concern about an adult person (who lives in the ACT) who they believe has impaired decision making ability.

Who can be appointed as a guardian or manager?

ACAT has the power to appoint an individual as a guardian or manager for a person. See our booklet for guardians [DOC 96KB] and booklet for managers [DOC 84KB].

ACAT must be satisfied that the person is suitable for appointment. Where no suitable person is available or willing to be appointed, ACAT can appoint the PTG.

Emergency appointments

If there is an emergency, the PTG can be appointed as a short-term guardian or manager (for a period up to 10 days, which can be extended). If you think an emergency guardian or manager is needed, contact the PTG.

How old is the person needing a guardian/manager?

ACAT can make a guardianship or management order in relation to a child. However, the orders will not take effect until the person is 18 years old.

Appointment as a health attorney

If you are a person’s domestic partner, carer, close friend or relative, you are considered a health attorney for a person under Part 2A of the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 if the person has impaired decision making ability.

ACAT may not need to be involved if the decision about medical treatment can be made by a health attorney.

Supported decision making

In some cases, a person may be able to make a decision with support. If so, ACAT may not need to appoint a guardian or manager.

For more information about supported decision making, contact the ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS).

Will I have to pay ACAT fees?

There are no ACAT fees for guardianship and management of property.

More information

Find out what information ACAT staff can give you.

You may be able to contact the PTG or ADACAS for information.

Making an application

Application under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991

Fill in and lodge an application under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 form [DOC 327KB] or [PDF 263KB] when you are asking ACAT:

  • to appoint a guardian to make decisions relating to a person’s health or welfare
  • to appoint a manager to make decisions relating to a person’s property, including finances
  • to approve a transaction involving a conflict of interest
  • for a direction to a guardian or manager
  • for an opinion or advice (to the guardian or manager) about the exercise of functions or powers
  • to review an appointment of a guardian or manager, including to vary or revoke an appointment
  • to consent to a prescribed medical procedure
  • to review consent to treatment, care or support under the Mental Health Act 2015
  • for an order to adjust a transaction or to restrain dealings
  • for an order about an enduring power of attorney.

Before you lodge your application under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 form [DOC 327KB] or [PDF 263KB], check if there is any additional information you need to provide (the form will tell you this). Depending what you are asking for, you may also need to give ACAT:

Appointment of a manager for a missing person’s property

To ask ACAT for the appointment of a manager for a missing person’s property, fill in and lodge an application for appointment of manager for missing person’s property form [DOC 126KB] or [PDF 220KB]. You will also need to provide a:

Register an interstate appointment

To register an interstate appointment, fill in and lodge an application to register an interstate appointment form [DOC 108KB]or [PDF 193KB].

Make sure you also give us a copy of the interstate order.

These applications are usually considered in chambers (without a hearing) within about one week.

What to expect after an application is made

After an application is lodged with ACAT:

  • we will check whether you have provided all the required information
  • if so, we usually schedule the case for a hearing 4–6 weeks after the application is received
  • we will tell parties the date, time and location of the hearing by sending a notice (ACAT is required to notify certain people of the hearing).

So we can schedule your case without delay, make sure you provide all the required information, including any attachments.

Resolving the case

Hearings

Applications are usually scheduled for a hearing. A hearing is like a meeting. You should allow between 30 minutes and one hour. If the case is more complex, it may take longer.

Hearings are open to the public, unless a non-disclosure or non-publication order has been made.

Attendance

Your notice from ACAT will tell you where and when the hearing will be.

Contact us if you need disability support, hearing assistance or an interpreter (see our accessibility information). If you cannot attend the hearing in person, you can ask for permission to attend by telephone.

ACAT requires the applicant and anyone who is seeking appointment as a guardian and/or manager to attend the hearing.

ACAT has a strong preference for the protected person to attend the hearing so that we hear their views and wishes about the application. However, we understand this is not always possible and their attendance is not mandatory.

ACAT will also ask the PTG to contact the protected person to obtain their views and wishes. It is important that the applicant/family members help facilitate this process.

ACAT may adjourn a hearing if the views and wishes of the protected person are not known.

What to expect

Hearings are usually conducted by two ACAT Members.

Often ACAT will decide at the end of a hearing whether or not to make an order. Sometimes a decision will be reserved, and given later.

ACAT orders no longer have effect when they are revoked, or if the subject person dies.

Review

ACAT will conduct a review of the appointment of a guardian or manager at least once every three years.

Anyone can also apply for a review of an order at any time (using the application under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 form [DOC 327KB] or [PDF 263KB]).

ACAT will notify parties of a review and tell you what you are required to do.

Appeals

If you think ACAT made an error when it decided the application, you may appeal within 28 days of the decision. Fees apply.

More information

Review ACAT’s booklet for guardians [DOC 96KB]. It has information about:

  • principles by which a guardian should operate
  • responsibilities of the guardian
  • applications to ACAT for directions or advice
  • effect of guardian actions
  • accountability and liability
  • relationship of guardian
  • applying for an emergency order
  • notification to ACAT.

Review ACAT’s booklet for managers [DOC 84KB]. It has information about:

  • appointment of manager
  • effect of appointment
  • principles by which the manager should operate
  • applying for an emergency order
  • duties of the manager
  • powers of the manager
  • investment decisions and financial management plan
  • independent financial advice
  • application to the tribunal for directions or advice
  • loans, gifts and other benefits
  • fees and expenses
  • protection from liability
  • notification to ACAT.

Find out about:

Glossary and terms

Glossary and terms

ACT Civil and Administrative TribunalA tribunal established under the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. It may also be referred to as ACAT or Tribunal.

Adjourn (or adjournment)To suspend or postpone a preliminary conference, mediation or hearing and reschedule it for a future date.

Administrative reviewACAT has jurisdiction to review some administrative decisions made by the ACT Government. Find out about Review of ACT Government decisions.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)Also known as dispute resolution. This is a way of resolving disputes without a formal hearing. It may involve a preliminary conference or mediation. ADR is used to help parties resolve cases by agreement.

AnorMeans ‘and another’. This term is generally used to name parties to proceedings when there is more than one applicant or respondent.

Appeal TribunalA tribunal constituted under section 81 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal 2008 to review a decision of the tribunal (not all ACAT decisions are appealable at ACAT – you may need to go to the Supreme Court).

AppellantThe individual or company that appeals an ACAT decision.

Authorising lawsA law that says an application (including referrals) may be made to ACAT. An authorising law may also set out the powers ACAT has in a case. Also see ‘jurisdiction’.

ApplicantThe individual or company that brings a case to ACAT, usually by making an application.

Calling a witnessA party or their representative will ‘call a witness’ at an ACAT hearing when they ask a witness to give evidence.

CaseAlso known as a matter, dispute, application or referral. Cases come to ACAT when ACAT has jurisdiction (power) to make a decision.

Cross-examinationThe process of asking a witness questions to test or check the evidence that the witness has given to ACAT.

Deliver a decisionAlso ‘handing down a decision’. This is giving a decision about an ACAT case. It may be done verbally or in writing (or both).

DirectionsInstructions that set out what each party must do (and when), often to prepare a case for hearing.

Directions hearingA short hearing where an ACAT Member or Registrar decides how to manage a case and what needs to be done before a hearing. Find out about directions hearings.

Ex parte orderAn order made by ACAT where one or more parties were not present.

Expert reportA written report from an expert that may be used as evidence.

Expert witnessA person with specialised knowledge based on their training, study or experience. An expert can give evidence at a hearing. Find out more about witness statements.

Final directions hearingSometimes ACAT will hold a final directions hearing prior to the final hearing of an application. The purpose is to make sure the case is ready to go to a hearing and give the parties a chance to ask questions about the hearing process.

Handed upGiving documents to an ACAT Member or Registrar in a hearing.

In chambersWhen ACAT considers something without holding a hearing.

Joined party (joined/joinder)A party who was not originally a party to the dispute but has later been added to the case.

JurisdictionACAT’s authority (power) to deal with, hear and decide applications (cases).

LeaveIf someone asks for leave, they are usually asking for permission to do something.

List (or listing)A schedule (or list) of cases to be heard at ACAT each day.

Listing noticeA letter or written document from ACAT that sets out when a conference, mediation or hearing is scheduled at ACAT.

MediationA private meeting where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator (who is also an ACAT Member or Registrar). It is held under section 35 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008.

Non-publication and/or non-disclosure orderAlso called a ‘suppression order’. It is an order that requires certain information not to be published or disclosed. It is made under section 39 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. Find out about public hearings and confidentiality.

Notice to partiesA letter sent to the parties in a case that sets out the time, date and location for an ACAT conference, mediation or hearing.

Opening statementUsually means a statement made at the beginning of a hearing to outline the key points in the case. Sometimes parties are asked to give an opening statement at a mediation or preliminary conference.

Originating applicationAn application that starts an ACAT case.

Party or partiesAn individual or company directly involved in an ACAT case, for example an applicant or respondent. Find out how to identify and name parties.

Preliminary conferenceA private meeting where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of an ACAT Member or Registrar. See section 33 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. ACAT has different types of preliminary conferences.

RegistryThe administrative section of ACAT that accepts documents lodged by parties, handles enquiries and provides support for case management.

RepresentativeA person who represents or advocates for an individual or company at a conference, mediation or hearing at ACAT. For example, a legal practitioner or an attorney appointed under a general power of attorney.

Reserved decisionWhen an ACAT Member or Registrar reserves a decision (at the end of a hearing), this means they will give their decision later, either verbally or in writing (sometimes both).

RespondentThe party (or parties) against whom orders or relief is sought.

Short service orderAn order that authorises a shorter time for service (than the time otherwise required).

Serve/serviceA person who can give evidence at a hearing. Find out about witness statements.

Statement of reasonsA document that explains why ACAT made an order in a case. It sets out the law relied on by an ACAT Member or Registrar and explains how the law was applied to the facts of the case. You can request a written statement of reasons within 14 days after an order is made. Find out about statement of reasons.

StayAn order for a particular action (or decision) to be put on hold or suspended for a period of time.

SubmissionA document that sets out your side of a case or dispute and the relevant law. It is presented to ACAT either in writing, verbally or both. Find out about submissions.

SubpoenaRequires a person to appear at ACAT to give evidence or provide documents (or both). Find out about subpoenas.

Substituted service orderAn order that says how a party is to be served with an application or other documents related to the proceedings. In a civil dispute or a rental dispute, an applicant will need to consider asking for a substituted service order if they do not have a physical address for the respondent. Find out about lodging and serving documents.

WitnessA person who can give evidence at a hearing. Find out about witness statements.