Introduction: Understanding guardianship

Guardians and administrators are appointed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) when people are unable, because of their disability, to make decisions for themselves.

A guardian makes “lifestyle” decisions, such as those relating to health, accommodation or access to services. An administrator makes financial and legal decisions. The person for whom a guardian or administrator is appointed is known as the “represented person”.

The represented person must have a disability in order for a guardian or administrator to be appointed. A disability is an intellectual impairment, brain injury, mental disorder, physical disability or dementia.

The authority to appoint guardians and administrators, and to reassess and remove them, is vested in the Guardianship List of VCAT, whose procedure is governed by the provisions of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) (“VCAT Act”).

Note that all references to legislation in this chapter refer to the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) (“GAA”) unless stated otherwise.