Guardianship

Those whose decision-making ability is impaired sometimes need a guardian appointed to them. Although Victoria has been an Australian and world leader in guardianship law, social changes in this area have been rapid. In particular, in an aging population, guardianship laws originally designed for the care of children may not be appropriate for the many older people who now rely on guardians. 

In May 2009, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to review the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) and report on whether changes were needed. 

In January 2010, the Commission published an information paper that explained the operation of the laws in Victoria. A consultation paper published in February 2011 described how Victoria's guardianship and administration laws currently operate, outlined problems with these laws, discussed laws in other jurisdictions, and put forward options for reform. 

This reference required extensive community consultation to understand the day-to-day realities of Victorians affected by guardianship laws. To encourage broad community participation, the Commission published materials in a range of accessible formats and consulted widely across metropolitan and regional areas, attracting submissions and contributions from individuals and community organisations. We also established two expert advisory committees. 

The final report, tabled in Parliament on 18 April 2012, made 440 recommendations to modernise, clarify and simplify guardianship laws to better meet the needs of Victoria's changing population.

The report, consultation paper and other documents can be downloaded from the links below.

Implementation

28 May 2019 - Guardianship and Administration Bill 2018 received royal assent. The legislation provides statutory recognition for supported decision-making, including via the appointment of a supportive guardian or supportive administrator.The bill also gives guidance to guardians and administrators when they are making their decisions.   

12 March 2018 - Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic) came into force. VLRC recommended that the range of powers given to an enduring personal guardian should include the power to consent or refuse medical treatment and that these new provisions should replace the Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic). Though the Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic) has been repealed, it has been replaced by the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016. However this act does provide for a person to appoint -

(i) another person to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of the person when the person does not have decision-making capacity;

(ii) another person to support the person and represent the interests of the person in making medical treatment decisions;

1 May 2018 - Guardianship and Administration Bill 2018 moved a second time. Further work and consideration of VLRC recommendations is required before it will pass (Council, Second Reading, Mr Jennings).

1 September 2015 - Powers of attorney in Victoria changed with the commencement of the Powers of Attorney Act 2014,  which implements many of the Committee’s recommendations.

The Bill allows for the appointment of a support person to assist those with impaired decision making abilities (Recommendation 47).

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Guardianship: Background Paper - Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. A number of jurisdictions have introduced legislative schemes which allow a designated person, or a combination of...

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Guardianship: Final Report

Tabled in parliament on 18 April 2012, the Commission's Guardianship: Final Report contained more than 400 recommendations. PDFs of the full report...

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Guardianship: Consultation Paper - Received Submissions

The Commission received 86 submissions in response to the Guardianship: Consultation Paper. All public submissions are placed on this website. We do...

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Guardianship: Information Paper

This information paper was released in March 2010.  The paper explains the operation of the laws in Victoria. It also calls for submissions that tell...

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Guardianship: Information Paper - Easy English

This paper was released in March 2010.  It explains guardianship and administration law in Victoria. It also calls for submissions so people can tell...

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Guardianship: Information Paper - Summary

This summary was released in March 2010.  It provides a brief overview of the information contained in the Guardianship Information Paper. It briefly...

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Guardianship: Information Paper - Translations

In March 2010, the Commission published the Guardianship: Information Paper.  These documents provide a summary of the paper in languages other than...

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Guardianship: Information Paper - Received Submissions

The Commission received 60 submissions to its review of Guardianship law and those below are published with the permission of those who submitted...

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Guardianship: Consultation Paper - Translations

These documents provide a summary of the Commission's Guardianship: Consultation Paper in languages other than English. They explain guardianship and...

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Guardianship: Consultation Paper - Summary

This summary provides an overview of the information contained in the Guardianship: Consultation Paper. It contains options for reforming Victoria's...

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Guardianship: Consultation Paper - Easy English

This Easy English paper uses simple, everyday language and illustrations to explain guardianship and administration laws in Victoria. It makes...

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Guardianship: Consultation Paper

Released in March 2011, the Guardianship: Consultation Paper, describes how Victoria's guardianship and administration laws currently operate,...

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Guardianship: Terms of Reference

In May 2009, the Attorney-General asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to review the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) under the...

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