The Guardianship and Administration Act 1993 includes a set of principles which can be used as a guide for decision-making.

The principles say that when making decisions for someone, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT), guardians and financial administrators must consider:

  • the past and present wishes of the person
  • the adequacy of any existing informal arrangements
  • the least restrictive option
  • the person's proper care and protection.

If you do not think these principles are being followed, you have a right to say so.

Your rights and the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA)

You can ask for information about your rights from the OPA Information Service.

OPA guardians apply the Guardianship and Administration Act principles by gathering information about a person's:

  • history and personal circumstances
  • wishes
  • assessments of their 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

If you disagree with decisions made by a delegated guardian, you can:

  • request a review of the decision by senior staff in the Office of the Public Advocate - see our OPA Complaints Policy
  • seek the assistance of an advocacy service
  • apply to SACAT for variation or revocation of the Guardianship Orders
  • apply for the Guardianship Order to be reviewed by senior members of SACAT - view SACAT information about Reviews and Appeals.

The Public Advocate is an independent statutory officer, accountable to the South Australian Parliament. Our office is separate from SACAT.

Appealing orders made by SACAT

If you disagree with an order made by SACAT, you can apply for an Internal Review.

An internal review means that a senior member of the Tribunal looks at the order that was made, including all of the information provided to the Tribunal, and decides whether the correct decision was made.

An application for internal review must be made within one month of the date of the order or decision. If the Tribunal thinks it is reasonable, they can allow an extension of this application time frame.

Visit the SACAT website to access the online appeal form.

Legal assistance for an appeal

When SACAT does an internal review, a lawyer can be provided to help the Person the order is about.

Any other parties to a review will need to arrange for their own legal representation.

Changed circumstances and SACAT orders

A person’s circumstances can change over time. This sometimes means that a SACAT order is no longer needed or fitting for the person.

When an order is made, the Tribunal sets a review date to consider whether the orders need to be changed.

You can also apply for an early review.

Reasons for an early review might include:

  • the person’s ability to make their own decisions has changed
  • there is disagreement about decisions or a decision-maker, or
  • more orders are needed.