Application process

Guardianship Division

Before you make an application

Before you make an application to the Tribunal, consider whether you need to apply. Most people with a decision-making disability manage in the community with help from their family, friends and service providers without the need for a guardian or financial manager to be appointed for them.​

Working out an alternative, as long as it is in the best interests of the person concerned, may be better than having to go through the legal process of appointing a guardian or financial manager.

What happens when you make an application?

When an application is made to the Tribunal, it begins a formal legal process which the Tribunal controls. Applications can only be withdrawn with the consent of the Tribunal. 

How long before a hearing is held?

All applications in the Guardianship Division are reviewed on receipt to determine whether the application identifies any risk being experienced by the person who is the subject of the application (‘the person’). The time taken for an application to be heard depends on a range of factors including:

  • The risk to the person

  • The time required to gather the necessary evidence to prepare the application for hearing.

When preparing an application for hearing, a NCAT officer will contact the applicant and the person who is the subject of the application.  The applicant is responsible for providing the relevant evidence to support the application. The information required to support the application includes medical and professional evidence about the person’s capacity to make his or her own decisions and information about any risk to the person. Applicants are advised to notify NCAT if from the time of application the person’s circumstances change and there is an increased risk to the person.

Before the hearing


The Guardianship Division's Enquiry Service can help with questions about:

  • The role and functions of the Guardianship Division

  • Tribunal practice and procedure

  • Planning ahead through appointment of enduring guardians and enduring power of attorney

  • Issues relating to guardianship, financial management, consent to medical or dental treatment, review of enduring power of attorney and review of enduring guardianship appointments.


Anyone with a genuine concern for the welfare of the person they consider incapable of making their own decisions may apply to the Tribunal.


Most applications to the Tribunal are prepared for hearing by a Tribunal officer.   The role of the Tribunal officer is to provide information about NCAT practice and procedure, to list the application for hearing and to send notices of the hearing to the parties.

The Tribunal officer also obtains, where possible, the views of the person the application is about and assist in identifying how the person can best participate in the proceedings. Before the hearing, the Tribunal officer will send out a hearing report summarising the information received by the Tribunal.

At the hearing

The Tribunal will consider the relevant written evidence that has been provided. The Tribunal will also take evidence from the person the hearing is about and from other parties and witnesses participating in the hearing. Parties and witnesses can attend the hearing and give evidence over the telephone or by videoconference if necessary.

After the hearing

In most cases the Tribunal usually makes a determination about the application and will advise the parties of the outcome at the end of the hearing. The written order and a written statement of reasons for decision are sent to all parties.

If a private guardian is appointed, they are authorised to make decisions about the functions they have been given in the order. They may wish to contact the Private Guardian Support Unit of the NSW Public Guardian for more information about their role and functions.

If the NSW Public Guardian is appointed, they will have authority to make decisions under the functions given in the guardianship order. Refer to the fact sheet Guardianship orders - what happens after the hearing? [PDF, 49kB].

If a private financial manager is appointed they will be referred to the NSW Trustee and Guardian​, who will obtain more information about the person's estate and discuss what needs to be in the financial plan. The NSW Trustee will issue a set of directions, setting out the powers of the private financial manager to manage the person's financial affairs.

If the NSW Trustee and Guardian is appointed, they will commence their function as the financial manager.  For more information refer to the fact sheet Financial management orders - what happens after the hearing? [PDF, 50kB].

Written orders and reasons for decision

The Tribunal provides written orders and in the majority of hearings will provide a written statement of reasons for decision for the decision it makes. These are sent to the parties as soon as practicable after the hearing.