- hear applications for the appointment of guardians and administrators for people who have a mental incapacity;
- hear applications under the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA) for compulsory treatment and ongoing detention of people said to have a mental illness;
- provide substitute medical and dental consent where no other authorised person is available to make a decision for a mentally incapacitated person, see When someone can't consent.;
- hear appeals against psychiatric detention by psychiatrists under the Mental Health Act 2009;
- review the way in which guardians and administrators carry out their important responsibilities;
- exercise a supervisory jurisdiction over advance care directives.
The Guardianship Board consists of a range of professional and other qualified people appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Government. It includes legal professionals, psychologists, social workers, mental health practitioners, mental health consumers and other people experienced in providing services or caring for people with a disability or mental illness. The Board can sit with three members (chaired by a lawyer) or with only one or two members for certain proceedings.
In its hearings the Board has the same duty as a court to act impartially and fairly. It can use the powers of a court to summons witnesses and documents. However, unlike a court the proceedings are less formal. For example, the Board can gather evidence without the same formality and limitations to which a court is subject. Like a court, Board hearings are open to the public. However, hearings can be closed to protect the privacy and dignity of the people involved, and no media report can be made without the Board's permission.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.