Supportive attorney appointments

The Guardianship List at VCAT hears and decide applications about supportive attorney appointments.

The supportive attorney appointment was introduced with the Powers of Attorney Act 2014. It supports the right of people with disability to make their own decisions about things that affect them.

Definitions of principal and attorney

In supportive attorney appointment, the principal is the person who has an attorney supporting them as they make decisions.

The supportive attorney is the person appointed to support the principal in their decision-making.

The Office of the Public Advocate has more information about how to make powers of attorney.

Before you apply

You can apply to VCAT if you are the principal, supportive attorney, the nearest relative of the principal or anyone who has a special interest in the affairs of the principal. Complete the application form, lodge it with VCAT and send a copy to the people you named in the application form. There is no fee payable for the application.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Decide who pays the costs of representation

If you are a supportive attorney who is a party to a power of attorney hearing at VCAT you may want to be represented by a lawyer. You must decide whether this is a cost you should pay personally or whether it is a reasonable expense that can be paid from the finances of the person who appointed you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can hear and decide applications about:

  • an attorney's power under the supportive attorney appointment, including whether the supportive attorney is complying with the terms of the appointment or exercising undue influence over the principal
  • cancelling (revoking) or suspending the supportive attorney appointment
  • varying the effect of a supportive attorney appointment
  • the principal’s decision making capacity for matters to which the supportive attorney appointment applies.
  • When you apply, we check your paperwork to see if you have provided everything you need to and have followed the proper process. In some cases, we schedule a directions hearing, where a VCAT member sets a process and time frame to hear the case. After receiving your application we may contact you for more information. Learn about what happens when VCAT opens a case. In other cases, the proceeding will be listed for hearing. We send details of the hearing to parties. Read more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.

  • If we need you to attend a compulsory conference, we advise you. A compulsory conferences is a confidential process. We allocate a VCAT member to guide you and other parties through a less formal process to explore whether the issues in dispute can be resolved without having to go to a contested hearing. Read more about resolving a case by agreement.

  • If you prepare a written statement of your claim, file it with VCAT and provide a copy of it to other parties. If you don’t provide the material in time this might cause a delay. The other parties will need time to respond to your claim. Prepare early so you can present the best possible case. Give others enough time to assist, to prepare a report or appear as witnesses at a hearing, if that is required. For information to help you prepare for the hearing, see how to prepare for your final hearing.

    Learn more about customer support services at VCAT.

  • It is your responsibility to attend the hearing. You should arrive 15 minutes before the allocated time and follow directions to the hearing room. Wait outside the hearing room and the member or a clerk will announce when parties should move into the room. The hearing gives all parties a chance to give and hear evidence, ask questions, call witnesses and provide supporting documents. Learn about what happens on final hearing day.

  • VCAT aims to make a decision in disputes as early as possible. If the member does not give a decision at the final hearing, we try to provide it within six weeks of the hearing. Learn about what to expect after your hearing.