Sometimes a guardian under a guardianship order or a substitute decision maker under an advance care directive will need to apply for special powers to enable decisions to be forcibly brought into effect.
Special powers can include orders:
- directing that the person resides in a particular place
- that authorise the detention of a person in a particular place
- allowing the use of reasonable force to ensure appropriate medical or dental treatment decisions, and other decisions about care and wellbeing, are brought into effect.
SACAT cannot make an order for special powers unless satisfied that the health or safety of the person the subject of the application, or the health or safety of others, would be seriously at risk.
Who can apply?
Only a guardian or a substitute decision maker under an advance care directive can apply to SACAT for orders for special powers.
An application for special powers can be made at the same time as an application is made for a guardianship order, or at a later time.
Reviews/cancellation/change of an order
- An application can be made to SACAT to change or cancel an order for special powers at any time if there is new information or a change in circumstances.
- SACAT must review an order granting special powers to detain a person within six months of the making of the order and then at intervals of not more than one year. This is an automatic review.
- SACAT must review an order granting any other special powers (not including a power to detain a person), at intervals of not more than three years. This is an automatic review.
- An application can be made to SACAT for an Review of a SACAT decision granting special powers to detain a person. This is an 'Internal review' as of right - no permission is required to seek this review.
- An application can be made to SACAT for an Review of a SACAT decision granting any other special powers (not including a power to detain a person) with the permission of the Tribunal.
Public Advocate v C, B
The Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia made a decision in the case of Public Advocate v C, B on Friday 24 May 2019.
The decision relates to the powers of guardians at common law and under special powers orders of the Tribunal.
SACAT is not able to give legal advice. If you are considering making an application as a result of the decision it may be of assistance for you to seek legal advice as the first step.
Individuals may seek legal advice from the Legal Services Commission or a lawyer. Aged care facilities should seek legal advice from their lawyers.
The Office of the Public Advocate Information Service may also be able to provide assistance.
Applications for guardianship orders will continue to be considered according to our usual procedures.
SACAT only lists matters for urgent interim orders if the welfare of the person about whom the order is being sought is at risk in the current circumstances. SACAT will assess applications to ensure that urgent hearings are maintained for people who are at immediate risk.
After hours (urgent guardianship, mental health and administration cases only)
For urgent after hours calls about guardianship, mental health and administration cases, contact the Office of the Public Advocate on 8342 8200 for details of their emergency out of hours service.
If an urgent hearing is needed, the Office of the Public Advocate will contact SACAT and arrange a hearing time as quickly as possible.