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

Formal third parties

Dealing with third parties sometimes involves dealing with government agencies and bodies or people who have a formal role to play in client interactions. These agencies play many and varied roles in client's lives. They include:

The Adult Guardian
The Public Advocate
The Public Trustee of Queensland
Legal representatives, including litigation guardians
Formally appointed carers
Attorneys
Nominees for payment
Guardians
Administrators

The Adult GuardianBack to top

The role of the Adult Guardian is to protect the rights and interests of adults who are unable to make decisions for themselves. This lack of decision-making ability, known as impaired capacity, may be caused by intellectual or psychiatric disability, acquired brain injury, dementia or temporary illness such as delirium.

As an independent statutory officer, the Adult Guardian operates free from inteference from government and non-government organisations.

Both the Adult Guardian and Public Advocate are concerned with protecting these people’s rights and interests. However, the Public Advocate does not deal with individual cases, but looks at widespread deficiencies in institutions and systems that affect a large number of people.

For example, while the Adult Guardian might obtain a warrant to remove a person with impaired capacity who is being exploited by a carer, the Public Advocate looks at how the system has failed this person, and could be failing others in similar situations. Find out more about the role of the Public Advocate.

Providing support to the Adult Guardian are the staff of the Office of the Adult Guardian. The Adult Guardian may delegate specific functions to these officers, who also act independently of other organisations in carrying out their work.

Adult Guardian

The Public AdvocateBack to top

The Public Advocate’s role is to identify widespread situations of abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with impaired decision-making capacity where they are due to shortcomings in a service provider’s systems or facilities. The Public Advocate then reports these findings to State Parliament. This function is also known as systems advocacy.

The Public Advocate also encourages the development of programs aimed at helping increase the independence of adults who cannot make their own decisions as a result of illness, injury or a more permanent medical condition.

Both the Public Advocate and the Adult Guardian are concerned with protecting these people’s rights and interests. However, the Public Advocate does not deal with individual cases, but looks at widespread deficiencies in institutions and systems that affect a large number of people.

For example, while the Adult Guardian might obtain a warrant to remove a person with impaired capacity who is being exploited by a carer, the Public Advocate looks at how the system has failed this person, and could be failing others in similar situations.

The Public Advocate looks at other issues such as government funding, numbers of advocacy services, and the appropriateness of facilities and services.

The Public Advocate is an independent statutory officer, which means the position is independent of the government. Queensland’s current Public Advocate, Michelle Howard, was appointed on 1 February 2006.

Public Advocate

The Public Trustee of QueenslandBack to top

The Public Trustee of Queensland was established in 1915. The Office was known as the Public Curator of Queensland until 1978.

The Public Trustee of Queensland is the largest Public Trustee in Australia and the largest trust organisation in Queensland. The Public Trustee has 15 regional offices throughout the state.

The organisation was established initially to act in the capacity of administrator of deceased estates, providing financial management for people with a disability and giving aid in any legal proceedings by or against a disadvantaged person.

The Public Trust Office has continued in its role of assisting the community, and has responded to community demand by introducing many new services. The Public Trustee's services have expanded to include obtaining probate for private executors, investments, the auctioning of motor vehicles, property and other assets.

Public Trustee of Queensland

Legal representatives, including litigation guardiansBack to top

Legal representatives includes legal practitioners, often called lawyers, solicitors or barristers. In cases where the client is represented by a legal representative a number of issues should be considered before entering into any dealings with that legal representative:

What sort of authority has been given?
What is the extent of the authority?
Has a copy of the authority been produced?
When can the authority be used?

Litigation Guardian is where a person under a legal incapacity may start or defend a proceeding only by the person's litigation guardian.

Formally appointed carersBack to top

This refers to carers who are formally appointed by some legal process.

AttorneysBack to top

Attorney is a legal term and relates to attorneys appointed under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998 (Qld). A power of attorney is where a person gives another person authority to act on their behalf. The powers given can be general or specific. There are three types of powers of attorney:

general powers of attorney
enduring powers of attorney
statutory health attorneys

Some key issues surrounding the powers of attorneys include:

What sort of power of attorney has been given?
What is the extent of power given?
Has a copy of the attorney been produced?
When can the power of attorney be used?
Has the power of attorney been properly made?
Does the power need to be an enduring power of attorney?
Is the person allowed to be appointed?
Are the powers allowed to be given?

Nominees for paymentBack to top

A payment nominee arrangement authorises a person or organisation to receive a Centrelink payment into an account maintained by the nominee.

The appointment process has several issues:

to appoint a nominee the relevant form should be completed
requests for nominee appointments signed with a cross or mark are NOT to be accepted unless there is supportive evidence as to the customer's incapacity
such evidence may include a Court, Tribunal, Guardianship or Administration Order or other evidence
if there is no supportive evidence, these cases should be thoroughly investigated prior to any appointment
the nominee is required to indicate their acceptance of appointment and their obligations under social security law via written consent
letters of the nominee appointment are to be sent to both the customer and the nominee.
letters of the cancellation of the nominee appointment are also to be sent to both the customer and nominee.

GuardiansBack to top

A guardian is someone appointed to take care of personal and health matters for a person who lacks decision making capacity. Appointed under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld). A guardian can be responsible for:

medical treatment
accommodation
employment
support services.

Guardianship and Administration Tribunal

AdministratorsBack to top

An administrator is someone appointed to take care of financial matters for a person who lacks decision-making capacity, appointed under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld). An administrator can be responsible for:

payment of bills
sale of property
management of pension or allowances
dealing with bank accounts.

Guardianship and Administration Tribunal