Guardianship Tribunal of New South Wales

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Guardianship Tribunal of New South Wales
Legal tribunal overview
Formed 1 August 1989
Jurisdiction New South Wales
Headquarters Level 3, 2a Rowntree Street, Balmain[1]
Minister responsible Hon. Greg Smith SC MP,
Attorney General and
Minister for Justice
Legal tribunal executive Malcolm Schyvens,
Parent Legal tribunal Supreme Court of New South Wales
Key document Act, 1987 / {{{4}}} (NSW)

The Guardianship Tribunal of New South Wales, an agency of the Government of New South Wales, is a specialist disability tribunal for people with cognitive incapacity, or disability. The Tribunal appoints guardians and financial managers as substitute decision makers, consents to medical treatment for people over 16 years of age and reviews private arrangements about enduring guardianship and enduring powers of attorney.

The tribunal was established pursuant to Act, 1987 / {{{4}}} (NSW) and commenced operations on 1 August 1989.

Led by its President, Malcolm Schyvens, who serves for a fixed five-year term,[2] the tribunal is an independent body. However any decisions made by the tribunal are subject to legal appeal, with the Supreme Court of New South Wales being the ultimate body to make rulings on matters of law before the tribunal.

Where tribunal makes an order to appoint the NSW Public Guardian as guardian of last resort, the Public Guardian then acts as a substitute decision-maker for people under his guardianship. The NSW Public Guardian is an independent statutory official, presently Graeme Smith. The Public Guardian is part of the Department of Attorney General and Justice and is supported administratively by the NSW Trustee and Guardian.

Constitution of the tribunal[edit]

The tribunal is established under the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW) (which was formerly called the Disability Services and Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW)). The tribunal comprises a president, a deputy president and at least ten tribunal members appointed by the Governor of New South Wales. There are currently more than ten members appointed.

The tribunal normally sits as a three member panel. One member is a member with legal expertise, normally a lawyer with more than seven years legal experience. The other two panel members are a professional member, who has experience in the assessment or treatment of adults with disabilities. The other member is a community member, who has experience with people with disabilities.


If a person is found to be unable to manage their own "lifestyle decisions", the tribunal may appoint a guardian and will decide who that will be. The tribunal can appoint a financial manager if the person is incapable of managing their own affairs. The tribunal can decide who that should be. The tribunal can also make orders in respect of powers of attorney and may make orders vary the power of attorney or replacing an attorney.

A person unhappy with the decision of the tribunal may in certain circumstances lodge an appeal to either the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales or the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal may request the Guardianship Tribunal to supply documents subject to the Guardianship Tribunal's discretion and Section 101 of the Guardianship Act, and the Supreme Court can instruct the Tribunal to supply records relevant to any matter before the Court.

Tribunals and Courts are exempt from the NSW Ombudsman Act. Although citizens are expected to comply with laws of the State, the Guardianship Act does not specifically instruct the Guardianship Tribunal to do so and interpretation of Sections of the Guardianship Act by the Tribunal is not subject to review. Evidence and matters previously considered by the Tribunal are excluded from internal consideration from any request for an internal review.

The hearing[edit]

All parties to a matter may attend the hearing. When this is not possible, evidence may be taken by telephone. Witness call be called and give evidence.

Legal representation is only permitted with the tribunal’s leave. The Tribunal is not subject to judicial protocols or rules of evidence, and legal representation is usually not beneficial. The Tribunal assigns case manager as "investigator" who receive any reports sent to the Tribunal, the managers do not initiate investigation of any matters but during the week before the hearing do prepare a report for the Tribunal members who will sit in consideration of the case.

Reports by doctors and social workers are considered by the Tribunal to be more reliable than community testimony.

The tribunal sits at Sydney, but also sits elsewhere in the State, including a range of locations in regional New South Wales.[3]


In the tribunal's Annual Report for 2004–2005, the tribunal reported that it had received 4,968 application in that year and about 2,000 matters under continuing management by the tribunal.[3]


  1. ^ "Contact us". The Guardianship Tribunal. Government of New South Wales. 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Smith SC MP, Hon. Greg (31 August 2011). "New President of the Guardianship Tribunal" (PDF) (Press release). Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Annual Report of the Tribunal" (PDF). Guardianship Tribunal of New South Wales. Government of New South Wales. 2004–2005. 

External links[edit]