Guardianship laws overhaul needed to help promote people’s rights: report

Tasmania’s guardianship laws need a major overhaul to help promote people’s rights, according to the latest report from the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI).

Among the report’s recommendations is the removal of the need to establish that a person has a disability, and refocusing on whether a person is able to make decisions with the use of appropriate support.

Other key recommendations include:

  • A supported decision-making framework, with traditional guardianship and administration as a last resort
  • Decisions about a person’s life being based upon their views, wishes, preferences and rights, removing the ‘best interests’ test
  • Clarifying the legal status of advanced care directives
  • Reforms to prevent, better detect, and respond to abuse and neglect of people with a need for decision-making support.

The majority of applications before the Guardianship and Administration Board involve people over 65 years of age, with the most common disability being dementia.

The report considers a range of safeguards to better protect against the abuse and neglect of people who may require support with decision-making.

“These reforms complement the broader national reform agenda to prevent, detect and respond to elder abuse in the community,” Mrs Hanslow said.

The full report is available here.