If a person is over 18 years old and is unable to make decisions for themselves, they may need a guardian to help with this.

The Public Advocate can be appointed by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) as a Guardian of Last Resort if:

  • a person is unable to make a particular decision on their own
  • there is a lifestyle, accommodation, and/or health decision to be made
  • there is no other appropriate person to be appointed.

When the Public Advocate is appointed as a person's guardian, the person is known as a ‘Protected Person’.

A person under guardianship is allocated an advocate/guardian who will get to know their circumstances and concerns.

The guardian (or team) can then:

  • make decisions on behalf of the person
  • advocate for access to services
  • promote coordination of services
  • facilitate communication and conflict resolution, if it is relevant to the person’s wellbeing.

What does an OPA guardian do?

A public guardian will try to gather information about the person's:

  • history and personal circumstances
  • wishes
  • treatment and support needs
  • any risks or need for protection.

A guardian will gather this information by

  • meeting with people who are involved in the person's care
  • gathering assessment reports
  • requesting information in writing
  • seeking the views of the person, if they are capable of participating in decision-making
  • talking with family members and friends who have an active and positive role in the person's life.

More information

Guardianship and the Public Advocate (Easy Read) fact sheet (PDF, 5.8 MB)

Guardianship & the Public Advocate fact sheet (PDF, 496.0 KB)

Guardianship Orders fact sheet (PDF, 386.7 KB)