Townsville Community Legal Service Inc
About Townsville Community Legal Service
Areas of law and how we deliver our services
Contact us

Informal third parties

A person with a significant cognitive impairment may have a range of third parties involved in their lives, including family members who assist, professional carers, a guardian and administrator, advocate and legal representative.
Supportive family members, siblings, spouses, children

Family members are often involved in client’s lives. They may attend an interview for a number of reasons:

to provide support to their family member
to ensure that any advice is understood
to assist in providing information and/or instructions
to assist with any follow up work required.


Wikipedia: "The words "carer" (UK, NZ, Australian usage) and "caregiver" (US, Canadian usage) are normally used to refer to unpaid relatives or friends who support people with disabilities. The words may be prefixed with "Family" "Spousal" or "Child" to distinguish between different care situations.

A widely-accepted definition of a carer/caregiver is: “Someone whose life is in some way restricted by the need to be responsible for the care of someone who is mentally ill, mentally handicapped, physically disabled or whose health is impaired by sickness or old age.” Baroness_Pitkeathley (1989) It's my Duty Isn't it? London: Souvenir Press.
Carers may attend with the client for a range of reasons, including to:

assist the person to travel
attend to personal or health needs
assist with communication via methods such as communication boards, sight boards etc.

Typically, they will consult with the client before seeking to be directly involved in an interview. Often they facilitate the interview for the client rather than participate in the interview with the client.

A carer may attend with a client at a community legal centre to ensure that the person can communicate with the lawyer, is comfortable and has all personal needs attended to.

Advocates are involved for a range of reasons. For example, a client may have concerns that their voice is not being heard and asks an advocate to attend to ensure that their concerns and issues are thoroughly canvassed. Another term, "informal representatives" are people rather like advocates and may just be a different term for the same role.

An advocate may attend with a client at Centrelink to ensure that their client is aware of their rights and to assist the client to check that they are receiving all payments they are qualified to receive.