Confidentiality and privacy
When you provide information or evidence to NCAT, all parties involved in the case will have access to this information, unless we order otherwise.
Generally all NCAT hearings are open to the public. Published decisions are made available on the NSW Caselaw website.
The exception is where NCAT orders a hearing or any part of a hearing be held in private, or NCAT makes a suppression or non-publication order. NCAT will only make such an order if it considers it necessary to avoid harm or it is in the interests of justice.
In certain types of cases, NCAT will automatically protect personal information to safeguard the people involved in the case. This occurs in cases involving children, adoption, guardianship, financial management, medical treatment, victims of crime, and privacy complaints.
If you have genuine privacy concerns about any information, documents or evidence you need to provide to NCAT, you can request a confidentiality order.
A confidentiality order restricts access to information about the case. This may include the name and details of any party, witness or other person, or details of confidential information or documents provided to NCAT.
Providing information to the Guardianship Division
NCAT makes decisions based on information provided by family members, friends, health professionals, social workers and others. This includes written reports, letters or verbal information provided to the Tribunal.
Before a hearing, all documents and information received about the application will be sent to all of the parties. Reports and documents should, where possible, be objective and contain factual information and use neutral language. You cannot submit documents or information on a confidential basis. If you are concerned about providing a document, please contact NCAT to discuss your concerns.
Once a matter is finalised, the disclosure of information is restricted by section 101 of the Guardianship Act 1987. NCAT is prevented from disclosing information unless the author provides consent or there is a legal reason for disclosure, such as a subpoena.
Tribunal hearings are open to the public. However, generally only the people directly involved in the case will come to the hearing. If anyone else attends the hearing, the Tribunal will ask the person the hearing is about and the other parties whether they have any objection to other people being at the hearing. However, it is for the Tribunal to determine whether it should close the hearing to the public.
In the Guardianship Act 1987, it is forbidden to publish or broadcast any information about the Tribunal's hearing or the person the hearing is about without the Tribunal's consent. People at the hearing should not release information about the application to anybody who does not have a legitimate right to know about it.
After the hearing, the Tribunal provides written reasons for its decision. These reasons are only provided to the parties to the case and are not available to the public.
If the Tribunal appoints a guardian or financial manager for a person, then the Tribunal may provide information, such as reports, to the guardian or financial manager so they can make informed decisions for the person.
For more information, refer to the fact sheet Providing information to the Guardianship Division [PDF, 46kB].
If an application to the Tribunal about you, the applicant will be told that they need to give you a copy of the application. A copy of the application will also be sent to the other parties to the hearing, such as your spouse or carer.
A Tribunal officer will contact you to discuss the application, to seek your views about the application to give you information about the Tribunal’s procedures. The Tribunal will send a letter to you advising you of the date, time and location of the hearing. You have the right to contact the Tribunal to talk about anything that is raised in the application. If you are worried about talking about something at the hearing, contact the Tribunal officer who is looking after your case and talk about your concerns.
The Tribunal officer is responsible for preparing the application for the hearing. You will be sent a copy of the documents received about the application and a copy of the hearing report. You have the right to talk to the Tribunal about anything mentioned in the report.
There are strict guidelines about disclosing information. The Tribunal will only release information about you to the parties to the application and to people who need to know that information in your best interests. For example, if the Tribunal appoints a guardian for you, then the Tribunal will release information to the guardian if it is needed to make decisions for you.
If you have made an application, the Tribunal will confirm in writing that it has been received. The Tribunal will send a copy of the application to you to give to the person who is the subject of the application. Copies will also be sent to the other parties, such as the person's spouse or carer.
NCAT cannot accept anonymous applications. If you think someone needs a guardian or financial manager but you do not want to make the application, contact the Guardianship Division for further advice.
The application cannot be kept a secret from the person the application is about. What you write in the application will be seen by the person the application is about and the other parties to the hearing.
If you have concerns about information in the application being shared with others, please contact NCAT before you send the application to the Tribunal.
Reports from medical specialists about a person's mental capacity helps the Tribunal determine whether they can make decisions for themselves. Other professional reports may give information about how a person is coping with daily living and whether they need a guardian or financial manager.
Reports are not confidential and will be provided to the parties to the hearing, including the person the hearing is about. It is not possible to provide a report only to NCAT, except in very exceptional circumstances. The Tribunal's overriding duty is to conduct its proceedings fairly.
If you have concerns about providing a report, please contact the Guardianship Division for further information.
If you are a relative or friend you may want to express your views about the application. Family and friends often know the person the best and their views are helpful for the Tribunal.
If you are invited to participate in the hearing, you can either put your views in writing, or attend the hearing in person or by telephone.
When giving information, you should be aware that:
- The Tribunal is only interested in relevant information about the person, their capacity to make their own decisions and whether they need a guardian or financial manager.
- Any written information you provide will be seen by the parties to the hearing, such as the person the hearing is about or their spouse or the applicant.
- Any verbal information you provide may to referred to in the report to the Tribunal. The parties to the hearing will be given a copy of that report.
If you have concerns about your information being shared with others, contact the Tribunal officer dealing with the application.