Guardianship Tribunal of NSW (now the Guardianship Division of NCAT)

I have appeared before this tribunal. It was a most unsatisfactory experience, and I don’t say that because my client lost because my client did not lose, but the path to that was much slower than it should have been and the tribunal was not as awake to obvious legal issues as I consider it should have been.

I don’t necessarily blame the members of the Tribunal before whom I appeared, or at least not all of them. The Tribunal is designed to be justice on the cheap and I am afraid that you get what you pay for. It is a specialist tribunal and there is much to be said for the expertise of its non-legal members. Its legal expertise is where as a lawyer you feel the economy.

There is an additional problem in that the tribunal has to deal with families and with people with mental problems, and much of its procedure and way of dealing with matters is designed to prevent parties pestering it, as one may reasonably expect that parties acting for themselves with mental problems or family disputes arising from the mental state of a family member might be inclined to do.

One undesirable consequence of this is that there is no proper procedure for initiating any steps in proceedings in the Tribunal or for getting the tribunal to do anything. Everything has to pass a gateway of a not particularly legally savvy kind of administrative assistant whose principal role (from my experience) seems to be to prevent parties bringing anything before the tribunal.

These are harsh words. It is rash of me to write them insofar as a member or employee of the tribunal might, with reasonable diligence, identify me from a careful reading of this blog. I would hope that such diligence would be better applied improving the performance of the tribunal. My rashness is fortified by my other hope and resolve never to appear before this tribunal again if I can help it.

Which is why I was pleased to read the judgment of Justice White (a judge whom I admire, not simply for this judgment nor for any particularly stunning successes I have enjoyed before him) in Re B (No. 1) [2011] NSWSC 1075.

His Honour (notice the title: of course he is also much better resourced than the tribunal) found various shortcomings in the approach of the tribunal to the matter in question. The question was: what should he do about this? It is sufficient that I quote this passage (at [80]):

One course would be to remit the matter to the Tribunal. That was the course adopted in W v G . I am reluctant to take that course in the circumstances of this case. There have been four substantial hearings before the Tribunal, three of which have miscarried. The delay in the provision of the Tribunal’s reasons for its orders of 24 February 2010 effectively deprived the plaintiff of a timely right of appeal. In the exceptional circumstances of this case I consider the court should come to its own decision as to the appointment of a guardian.

Much if not all of the jurisdiction of the tribunal is co-extensive with the Supreme Court’s parens patriae jurisdiction. In my opinion, if you have the money and can make your case with the more restrictive (but also possibly more rigorous) rules of evidence which apply in the Supreme Court, you would be better off taking your case there.

Note to potential commenters

Before you comment please read my policy about comments to this post at comment 90 below.

Update, April 2017:

Update from the NSW Law Reform Commission – April 2017
Please share this update with friends, colleagues and constituents.

Guardianship review – public consultations:

Should a guardian be able to make decisions for someone else? Or should people be supported to make their own decisions?

Tell us about your experiences with guardianship at our public consultations in Sydney on 30 May and in Parramatta on 1 June.

For more information and to RSVP visit our website.
NSW Law Reform Commission

Tags: , ,

174 Responses to “Guardianship Tribunal of NSW (now the Guardianship Division of NCAT)”

  1. Legal Eagle Says:

    Interesting post. I had a very bad experience before a non-legally trained VCAT member when my daughter was three months old, and we were attempting to get out of our rental property at that time after I’d fallen down the broken stairs for the umpteenth time. I was appearing in person, but the care of my preparations disclosed that I was legally trained (I’d prepared tabbed folders of evidence, for goodness’ sakes) whereupon the Member snorted, “Oh a lawyer!” and proceeded to ignore everything I said, and all the evidence I’d compiled. It was most unprofessional, disheartening and unsatisfactory.

    So: my sympathies.

  2. marcellous Says:

    LE, the GT always (I think) has a legal person presiding – either alone or with the non-legal members.

    I’m not really asking for sympathy nor am I even the deserving recipient of sympathy because I was just there as a practitioner and not as a party.

    That surely means I’m the one who should be offering you my sympathies.

  3. Legal Eagle Says:

    Yes, you are right; it is really the client who deserved sympathy, and all the other people who got caught up there. But it is awful to feel like someone is not listening to you at all. Most frustrating.

    I confess that there’s a part of me which knows why the that Tribunal assistant might try and stamp on matters. It is hard dealing with litigants in person and families, particularly in a context where people are mentally ill or emotional etc, and perhaps that individual had decided it was easier to just put up the boundaries very firmly for all and sundry. When I was a judge’s associate I found dealing with litigants in person very trying at times, to be honest, but I always tried to remain professional and keep in mind that people do have a right to bring things before the courts…at least until it gets to the point of vexatious litigation…!

  4. another legal beagle Says:

    A well known respected legal figure recently commented to me the Tribunal doesn’t favour lawyers appearing before it. It is an unfortunate reputation, a lawyer’s primary duty is to the court. But it is not unusual to find the higher up the jurisdiction one goes, the greater the respect for the lawyer appearing before it. In a Local Court I had the experience of a magistrate conducting a callover, when turning to those matters which were not ready to proceed to hearing, commenting to the effect “We’ll now deal with those recalcitrant matters”.

  5. Benito Says:

    I thought it was just us going through this ridiculous mess. We are now going do a rehearing. I’m amazed that they can’t or won’t consider simple rules of law, eg; someone with dementia and officially cited as having incapacity cant redraw new poas and enduring poas. I feel like I’m the bad one as the person who had these changes made is given more of a hearing than me!!

    • very concerned Says:

      We have had the most horrifc exp with the GT when trying to get our father protected from long lost relatives now he had dementia. Dad died 8 mths later after GT orders – in these new “friends” of my father’s care. A “will” had been changed and other legal documents in their favour. I am in the process of putting a paper together – and would be interested to hear from others. What we have been put through with the people coming into my fathers life when he was mentally ill, and what they were prepared to state in writing – and then how we have been treated by the GT in trying to get him protected – and then his death shortly afterwards – has at times been so unbearable. I would like to also form a support group with people who have had similar experiences.
      I demand an enquiry to the suitabiltiy of the GT and NSW Trustee and Guardian in handling these matters.

      • Rod Beilby Says:

        the guardianship tribunal is a law unto its self they do not take notice of the laws of the land and are only there to collect money for nothing

        Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 03:26:45 +0000 To: glimmerman55@live.com.au

      • marcellous Says:

        This is just on the edge of the kind of comment that I will accept on this topic. It is typical of the views of disappointed litigants before any court. The Tribunal itself is variously composed. I might add that if you think the Tribunal is bad, just wait until a member of your family’s affairs are consigned to the care of the Public Trustee. The sorts of decisions the Trustee has to make are often so discretionary that as a practical matter there is almost no effective oversight or review of its decisions. Only in the most clearcut cases, which means in the case of discretionary decisions, missteps which are outrageous on absolutely any view of the facts, is it likely that an external body will intervene.

      • concerned Says:

        In regards to the GT – my father was handed over just after a 2 hour meeting to a person that entered his life after 88 years of not knowing them. He had chronic dementia – and other major health problems, no information is tested, it comes down to how you play the game and know how to play the system. We never saw him again – and he died 8 months later. The new person in his life now is a major beneficiary of his estate – the GT were not interested in hearing the truth, assessing fact from fiction – and not interested in testing information.

      • marcellous Says:

        Mr Beilby,

        Thanks for your later comment. I’m not approving it for publication here because I don’t feel comfortable about publishing your claims (even as a comment) which may relate to specific people.

      • Susan [redacted] Says:

        I have been through two hearings as two siblings removed our mother from her home following our fathers death. She had been diagnosed previously with early onset dementia and within two weeks they had changed the power of attorney from two brothers to sole with the brother who had her. The hearing went in their favour, they sold her property, she has been put into a facility and my brother and myself have been blocked from having any contact with her. How can any of it be legal?
        I think it is a farce from my experience, the case worker was rude and unprofessional to say the least.

        Susan, I redacted your name because I don’t really want to be publishing statements about identifiable people which I cannot vouch for.

      • Heartsore and disgusted Says:

        I am sorry to hear of what you have gone through. We are
        going through the same nightmare. There will, no doubt, be a line of people currently, before and after us, who would be willing to join a group with a common goal of trying to get some justice. We want our mother to be removed from the “care” of these two appalling entities. No one seems to be able to get past these bureaucratic juggernauts and families are physically, mentally and sometimes financially destroyed . They have no understanding, care or interest in what is right. They just want the least line of resistance and go that way irrespective of the damage it may subsequently cause. We need to lobby someone who can give us a voice. I would like a firm of lawyers to mount a class action against the Public Guardian and the Public Trustee. Where is there such a valiant torchbearer within the legal profession?

      • Heartsore and disgusted Says:

        Hello concerned,

        I have just read your comment – I am ‘Heartsore and Disgusted”. It is 2.25am and I am finally going to bed. I am writing to journalists to see if they can do an expose on the appalling entities known as The guardianship Tribunal, The PublicTrustee and Guardian. I want to do something to bring about change. This destruction of lives and families must stop. Transparency and accountability must reign.

        If I can get enough people to stir the pot maybe somewhere, somehow, someone in authority will listen and so the winds of change begin to stir.

        Please contact me if you are interested in trying to do something. I don’t know yet what it will be. I just know that there must be something. Apathy never achieved anything.
        I am prepared to stand up and be counted.

        With thanks,

      • Erin Says:

        Hi,

        I have just read your post regarding your experience with your Grandfather and the GT and PT. We have also experienced a similar situation and are still dealing with the fall out. My mother contacted the GT when my Grandmothers mental health took a further decline back in 2006. My mother had resided with her for a while but due to mental illness and Dementia my Grandmother had become difficult to reside with. My Grandmother had been hospitalised in 2006 and upon assessment via doctors the family was informed that her frontal and temporal lobes were diminished and that she also would require oxygen 24hrs a day due to emphysema. The specialists then discussed care for my Grandmother with my mother and her two sisters. It was decided that the best location for my Grandmother would be a nursing home. When this was brought up with my Grandmother she became paranoid and excused my Mother and her sisters of trying to take her house away from her becoming more and more paranoid a symptom of her declining health. My Grandmother became quite hostile and so the sisters decided to contact the GT to manage my grandmothers health and welfare thinking that they would act in her best interests. Instead the encouraged my Grandmother’s paranoia, encouraged her to cease contact with her daughters of the 6 year period they had contact with her. Did not maintain regular contact with her as they believed her to be a “self sufficient” client only needing 6-12mth moniotoring. They did not inform family when she was ill and in November 2013 my Grandmother passed away alone in Canterbury Hospital. We were subsequently lied to and informed hospital staff could not contact next of kin even though numbers were on records at Canterbury Hospital. My Grandmothers funeral was a disgrace and she was buried in a shroud as the Public Trustee had also been involved. Now we have just found out that the Public Trustee was taking advantage of my Grandmother’s ill health and making home visits to my Grandmothers residence to assist and in writing up over 5 wills. Some wills contain the names of the Lawn Mower man and old friends or their children. It disturbs me that some wills written are only months apart and this did not raise any question with the witness from the NSW Public Trustee who’s name is on the bottom of all five wills. I believe I would be write to presume that it would have cost my Grandmother money each time she wrote a new will and this gentlemen for want of a better word was happy to take it. My mother and her sister raised the question many times in the GT regarding my Grandmothers financial capacity and it was dismissed based on her being able to make menial transactions. What they didn’t take into account was who was assisting her. She had been unwell mentally for a significant amount of time and there was medical evidence to prove this and yet it was not even looked at. There were witness accounts of her giving furniture away and then saying people had stolen it. This was also the case with her jewellery in which the Guardianship Tribunal social worker queried as to the reliablilty of the story but again never followed through on. It disheartens me to think that my Grandmother had no idea that she was going to die alone nor that she would have no dignity upon death or the funeral she believed she would receive. My mother and her sisters only ever wanted her protected from undesirable people willing to profit from her illness and yet they delivered her to those very people.

      • Rony Kennedy Says:

        Your story is nearly identical to mine,except it was my mother.

        Ron

  6. Judy Wilkinson Says:

    I am in the process of having to decide whether management of my mentally-ill sister [two years my senior] should fall under the guardianship of the public trustee. After 28 years of little or no communication from authorities and no improvement of her mental state despite a 5-year stint in a mental institution [though doctors/psychiatrists insist she has improved] which caused a decline in her physical health, I feel that I am even less equipped to deal with this situation. The rest of my family have been forced to walk away as she slips through the cracks of a mental health system that fails her and them at every turn. What a dilemma. And then one reads the horrific tales above. Is there nothing one can do to get appropriate care for the mentally ill? It would seem not. They seem to treat the family as enemy No.1 for not sticking by the insane. The system requires a holistic approach where family members either get training, legally and clinically, to handle the mentally ill. The system is broke folks.

    • marcellous Says:

      I don’t know anything about your particular situation, Judy, so this isn’t professional legal advice about your individual situation, but generally unless there is opposition within the family it is inestimably better that a family member become guardian than the public trustee. The same goes for financial management, which is a different thing despite the necessary relationship between the two, though unfortunately the approach to the question of financial management is a bit restrictive, I suppose because of the risk of investment mistakes or misappropriations.

      This really comes down to the fact that the public trustee is not particularly well-resourced and its employees can never give any individual case the commitment that a family member can give them. The only real advantage the Trustee has is neutrality (at the price of a certain degree of indifference) when family conflicts are intractable. No outsider can deal with an individual’s affairs at the level of detail they really require.

      The Guardianship Tribunal is in my opinion over-inclined in the face of conflict within a family to wash its hands of determining the rights and wrongs of such conflict and simply tossing the incapable person’s affairs into the Trustee’s basket.

      I realise my reply doesn’t say anything about the actual help that your sister might get. That’s another problem again, and I don’t know if any amount of training will ever make this an easy question for family members.

      One possible reason why authorities and agencies treat the family as enemy is because they encounter a lot of unhappy people in difficult situations. The authorities and agencies are necessarily case hardened. This means that they end up treating the families as a nuisance to be kept at arm’s length. If they accepted your and your sister’s problems at the level you are experiencing them yourselves, they’d soon be overwhelmed.

  7. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    Marcellous, your comment about conflict in families and treating families as the enemy is true, but what I do not agree with is when the GT get it so wrong, and hand over a relative to near total strangers and not protect them from elder abuse.
    I do not know once again if you will post this comment – as my others have not been posted.
    But I would like to set up a support group and I am happy to hear from “disappointed litigants” on this private email thetruthaus66@hotmail.com
    Regards.

  8. Maria Pantschenko Says:

    I am very concerned about our public services, I have had the worst expiriences starting from the Police, Coroners, and now the guardianship, I have sent all details of my mother’s death (twice) and just received a letter and a bill – althouth they have been sent the death certificate, and the will, they are still ignoring the fact
    that my mother is death…( your accounts has not passed – bill and fill one for next year..) it could be almost funny, but I have also being asked where does she lives? ( she was buried in Sep) why are we paying this inept people, surely somebody could overlook the misery the cause with the bumbling , utterly disgusted

    • prue Says:

      Thet get paid for their ineptitude.Chin up it will get better.Your mum will be having a chuckle at their stuppidity.My sympathies really the loss of your mum.P

  9. prue Says:

    Hi my father in law has just been draged through the tribunal.93.being a hard working gentleman he didn’t have time for an education. He was now thrown around like a rag doll.Not quite understanding what was going on.To cut a long story shot he won. He has his dignity back minus 2 sons show tried to tell him how to spend his hard earned money.There are still a lot of unanswered questions.We are waiting for the paper work.Hopefully he will be able to enjoy what the next couple of years.Thanks for the sounding board.There certainly isn’any at the tribunal.

  10. Heartsore and disgusted Says:

    I have posted a number of comments on this site asking that some of you show your hands in trying to get together and form some alliance in challenging the Tribunal and Public Trustee and Guardian. Sadly, the response has been negative. It is fine to air one’s views and if that is all one wants to do but I am an outcomes person and I prefer to do something about what has been happening. Melbourne has always been in the forefront in taking some action – Sydney lags behind in everything. There has been a Review of the Public Trustee and Guardian and it has addressed all the complaints I and others have made regarding these entities. This Review is available now for all to see. There will be changes. However, this did not happen in a vacuum. It was because others stood up and were counted. I do not want anyone to pat me on the back and say what a wonderful carer you are and sorry for what has and continues to happen. This is for all those carers and families who have been subjected to the appalling behaviour at the hands of these entities. We are an ageing society. We are next on the list. I do not want to suffer like my family has suffered and I am prepared to do something about it. If you don’t have a voice then you will never be heard. Everyone I have approached has said that without others coming forward, nothing can be done. If Melbourne can do it, why can’t we? No organisation will take the matter on if I am the only one that comes forward. If silence is the preferred option then you get what you deserve. I deserve better and I will continue on but I will have to rely on other forums – not this one.
    I wish you all well.

    • concerned concerned concerned Says:

      Heartsore – are you prepared to put your mobile on site to be contacted. I am happy to contact you, though as you can understand it is a public forum and peoples privacy and confidentiality our issues.

    • marcellous Says:

      Heartsore and disgusted

      Sorry to disappoint you. I’m writing a blog and, in my spare time, running a legal practice. I wish you well with your campaign. I don’t think I am the one to start one here in NSW.

      Is the Victorian review you speak of the review of the Guardianship laws by the VLRC? That doesn’t as far as I can see touch on the problems with the Trustee & Guardian which I have dealt with in this particular post.

      To both of you:

      With your respective consents I could give the other your email address.

      • SK Says:

        Dear Marcellous, I have Emailed Concerned and I look forward to getting change the status quo. Cheers ;-)

      • marcellous Says:

        SK:

        I’ve left your earlier comments as something just between us because I’d prefer not to be publishing comments about specific cases when I have no way of verifying the identity of the commenter.

        Anyway, the main thing is that you are getting in touch with “Concerned.”

    • alexander s[redacted] Says:

      My father does not want the nsw guardian in his wife’s life. he wants to be guardian. my brother said to the guardian it is best that the guardian be my mother’s guardian. my mother has her daughter and grand daughters to be guardian but my broher says no. the first hearing was on the phone one friday night and my father said no to them. they took no notice of him andmade a temporary order. my father wrote to the Registrar of the nsw guardian tribunal but no reply has been sent back to him. if a family member is sneaky any one in the family can be snatched up by the nsw guardian. Can a lawyer stop this ?

      • marcellous Says:

        Hard to tell from this slightly jumbled account. Only thing I can say with certainty is that writing to the registrar will achieve nothing and it is hardly surprising that no reply has been received. You would have to ask a lawyer what they could do about it. Complaints made by writing to the registrar are only received in relation to the “administrative procedures” of the tribunal or the conduct of its members. That doesn’t mean the merits of its decisions, it means things like whether the counter staff were rude or whether a tribunal member was bullying or sarcastic or is slow in delivering a decision. To change a decision you need to apply or review or appeal or go to another court.

  11. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    Hello the email address I can be contacted on is

    thetruthaus66@hotmail.com

  12. Heartsore and disgusted Says:

    Dear Marcellous,
    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate that you are doing this in your spare time and also realise that it would take up quite a bit of effort to maintain the forum. I thank and applaud you for this on many levels. Yes, I am in Sydney and it I agree that is neither appropriate nor reasonable that you should take up the cudgel for NSW.

    You are quite right about the VLRC Review. I know that it deals with
    the Guardianship laws and the Guardianship Tribunal. I have an issue with firstly the Guardianship Tribunal (the gatekeeper) AND
    the Public Trustee & Guardian (the prison guards) – all three of them need urgent examination and review. The Guardianship Tribunal is the worst because it sets the pattern for the PT & PG, the standard of which beggars belief. The damage they each cause, in their respective roles, is no less dramatic that that in the current Waterlow case (Mental Health Act) because emotional abuse (not to mentional financial) is just as destructive to families and individuals under their “care”. The body count is there!

    Understaffed, undertrained etc. does not cut it because in the majority of cases they don’t even get one thing right. Research of case histories will endorse what I say. They are charged with dealing with complex cases – if they can’t deal with it clearly and fairly – why are they there? The families would be better off if they dealt with the issues themselves. If these entities cant rely on evidence in such matters before them then they are just a panel of incompetent people whiling away their time till the next week’s pay cheque. That is why I think the tribunal is a Kangaroo Court with a preconceived role of passing the buck to the useless PT & PG to continue with the canker of incompetence and indifference. If they can’t do their job properly, then they should look for a career change where they dont destroy lives of their “charges” and their families.

    I was hoping that your NSW (Sydney) complainants might (a) be prepared to add their names to a letter which I will send to the Standing Committee on Social Issues and (b) be prepared to speak to any media (names withheld if necessary) to support the demand for change. Also, any practical advice or suggestions would be welcome. In any event, I think the media, lobbying MPs, human rights organisations and petitions is a start.

    I have received an e-mail from Concerned and I would be happy for my e-mail to be provided to those who would be willing to put their name to a Petition and provided they are genuine and wish to see this through – whatever the outcome. At least I (we) will have tried!

    Thank you .

  13. June Walker Says:

    Also disgusted says:

    My late father had a long term mental disability and he lived alone as a recluse for over 30 years. He refused normal family contact however, although I lived in another state, I maintained telephone contact with him.

    Although his home was unfit for human or animal habitation, his 8½ acre property on the outskirts of Sydney was valued at around $2 Million dollars and because of his isolation he matched the criteria of being a high risk candidate for financial exploitation.

    6 years prior to the Guardianship action my father became a victim of financial exploitation via a ‘new friends’ interference with his wills.

    The ‘new friend’ had arranged for his own solicitor friend to go to my father’s property for the purpose of drawing up a ‘new will’.

    This resulted in:

    1) The downfall of the existing will under which the ‘new friend’ received no financial or other benefit.

    2) The ‘new will’ resulted in the ‘new friend’ and others known to him standing to gain varying amounts of my father’s estate which, depending on the eventual sale price of my father’s property, wold have reached between $800.000 and $1 Million dollars.

    A few years after this new will was drawn up, my father’s circumstances changed and he had another will drawn up, once again with the assistance of the ‘new friend’ and his solicitor friend.

    This will was divided into 4 parts with 3 parts going to each daughter and 1 part going to the ‘new friend’ for his assistance in drawing up this will and the earlier will.

    4 months prior to the Guardianship Tribunal becoming involved, my father was found unconscious in his home by the Police who admitted him to hospital.

    I subsequently arrived in Sydney to assist my father. I was told by a Hospital staff member that my father’s friend had been looking after him and that I should not shut this friend out of assisting my father.

    On meeting the ‘friend’ and his secretary/companion, I was told that my father told them that he had no family contact. I subsequently advised them that I had been in contact with my father for many years.

    During other conversations with them, the matter of my father’s will was frequently mentioned by the ‘friend’. I could see that they did not have a genuine interest in my father’s welfare but they did have a genuine interest in finding out what I knew of the contents of my father’s wills.

    At this time I had a very strong feeling that my father may have been financially exploited by these people and this feeling became even stronger after the ‘friend initially claimed he didn’t know who my father’s solicitor was and he later revealed that his own solicitor had become my father’s solicitor.

    My father’s last will inder which the ‘friend’ only received 1/10th of the estate was missing in action and this meant that the previous will under which ‘the friend’ and his colleagues stood to gain financially, would be seen as my father’s last will.

    Reporting suspected Elder Financial Abuse to Authorities:

    1) I advised my father’s GP of my concerns re the ‘friend’ and he immediately advised me to go to the Guardianship Tribunal. Prior to this time I had not heard of this Tribunal.

    2) I rang the Fraud Squad and was advised to “tell my father a story and get some money out of him myself”.

    3) I advised the management at the Retirement Village in which my father then resided of my concerns and I was told “We see this happening all the time and we cant do anything about it”

    4) I saw a Chamber Magistrate who advised me to locate my father’s last will prior to aqpproaching the Guardianship Tribunal otherwise the previous will would more than likely be seen as my father’s last will.

    After talking to the Chamber Magistrate I knew why I had been subjected to various ‘mind games’ by the friend, his solicitor and others involved, as they knew that if I went to this Tribunal at this time, I would be claiming that my father lacked the capacity to draw up any other will.

    After spending 4 weeks in Sydney I had to return to Victoria for work purposes.

    Soon after my return home, my two sisters who had not contacted our father for over 18 years began visiting our father for the purpose of obaining money from him.

    The ‘friend’ was aware of these visits and the regular trips to the bank to withdraw funds for my sisters. He also knew that I was very suspicious of him and his solicitor.

    My father was in the early stages of dimentia and was suffering from parkinson’s disease when he suddenly became an involuntary subject of ‘financial management order’ applications to the NSW Guardianship Tribunal.

    Who do you call when you have a ‘genuine concern’ for the security of a will under which you gain financially?

    Answer: The NSW Guardianship Tribunal.

    At a time he held joint power of attorney over my father with me, the ‘friend’ covertly set about setting my father up to appear before the tribunal and at the same time he set me up to ensure that I wasn’t placed as my father’s ‘private financial manager’ where Iwould have the power to investigate his past legal and financia dealings with my father.

    Step 1:

    He influenced my father to sell his property to assist his family.
    He told my father to place a low reserve price on the property as this would attract more buyers and this resulted in my father placing a $1 Million dollar reserve on the property.

    Step 2:

    The friend and his solicitor then contacted my father’s GP and told him they were concerned because my father was selling his property in an irrational manner for well under its value.

    The friend told the GP that over $20.000 had gone from my father’s accounts since one daughter gained power of attorney via a new solicitor.

    The friend advised the GP that he should approach the Tribunal as it would hold more weight in favor of an order being placed.

    The friend’s solicitor asked the GP to provide him with a report regarding my father’s capicity etc. and of course the report would have been contaminated by the ‘friend’s’ opinion.

    Without my father’s or my knowledge, the GP dutifully followed the instructions of both of these people.

    Once having lodged an application to have a ‘financial management order’ placed over my father, the GP wrote to the friend and advised him that he had lodged the application and spoken to the Hospital ACAT Team, the Hospital Geriatrician who treated my father and two daughters who wanted the Tribunal involved. He told the ‘friend’ to expect a call from the Tribunal.

    Step 3: After hearing of the property sale for less than its value, my two sisters had a ‘genuine concern’ for their inheritance at this time.

    One sister rang the GP who told her over $20.000 was missing from the accounts and he then provided her with the ‘friend’s contact details.

    On ringing the ‘friend’ my sister was told “A large amount of money has gone from your father’s accounts since your sister has been managing his affairs.

    He advised her to lodge a ‘financial management order’ application.

    Step 4)

    Having loaded the gun and influenced others to approach the Tribunal, the friend sat back and waited to be contacted.

    When contacted by the Tribunal Investigation Officer, he told her only what he wanted her to know and only what he knew she wanted to hear.

    As both applicants had (falsely) described the ‘friend’ as “The person who had regular contact with my father and had a ‘genuine concern’ for his welfare, without payment” the friend was invited to attend the hearing.

    Note: The property sale was cancelled shortly after the applications reached the Tribunal. This action cost my father around $10.000.

    I was the last person to hear of the upcoming hearing and in order to attend, I had to lodge an application.

    I advised the Tribunal in writing of the inappropriate actions of my two sisters and of my concerns re the ‘friend’ who is a prominent professional and the holder of an OAM.

    My many concerns re the ‘friend’ and his colleagues involvement with my father included the following:

    There was a missing will.

    He originally advised me that he didn’t know who my father’s solicitor was and later advised me that his own solicitor had become my father’s solicitor.

    He appeared to know more about the contents of my father’s will than my father did.

    He claims that a particular will is still valid when my father insists it is not.

    Regardless of me holding joint power of Attorney over my father the “friends’ solicitor initially refused to provide me with a copy of the will he was holding on behalf of my father.

    After my father rang him and demanded that he was to provide me with a copy of his last will, I was provided with a copy of an earlier will which was not the will my father expected to see.

    Although he claims he is not doing anything for his own financial gain, I don’t belieive him.

    On the completion of the so-called ‘legal process’ the three expert Tribunal members concluded:

    Although Mrs. W. has expressed distrust regarding the actions and motivations of ‘Mr. Friend’ we find him to be open and forthright and the best person to place as the ‘private financial manager’.

    They went on tho mention the ‘friend’s long term assistance to my father, my father’s reliance on him etc, etc, etc……….

    The conclusion was totally false.

    The only alegation tested at the hearing was the doctors claim of over $20.000 dollars having gone from the accounts.

    Regardless of this claim being found to be false and misleading, the doctor, who didn’t attend the hearing as he conviently withdrew his application when he became aware that my sister had lodged an application, was not contacted and the Tribunal members simply fabricated an excuse that had no bearing on reality, on behalf of the GP.

    While they reached a false conclusion re the ‘missing monies’ the ‘friend’ sat there and said nothing.

    As a result of other untested allegations against me I was automatically seen as a potential financial predator and an unreliable witness while the professional “friend’ was automatically seen as a credible and reliable witness.

    After the hearing was completed and the two financially interested had secured their seperate financial interests, they ceased visiting their financial benefactor and they both failed to provide for his ongoing needs.

    After the hearing I was advised by a member of the NSW Police and two solicitors:

    1) Anyone in the know can use the Guardianship Tribunal for their own purposes.

    2) The Tribunal gives preferential treatment to professionals involved.

    3) The more lies you tell this Tribunal, the more likely you are to be beleived.

    4) The Tribunal judges applicants on the presentation of their applications, like going for a job interview.

    All of the above applied in my father’s case.

    As a result of my father learning that his last will was missing, after the Guardianship action was triggered and prior to the hearing, he drew up a ‘new will’ which left his entire estate equally divided between my two sisters and me and left nothing to the ‘friend’ or his colleagues, after my father passed away seven years after the hearing, the friend contested the ‘new will’ on the following grounds:

    1) My father lacked the capacity to instruct a solicitor of the day the new will was drawn up.

    2: My father did not know or approve of the contents of the will drawn up on that date.

    This was strange as the ‘friend’ had agreed to my father being ‘legally represented’ at the Guardianship hearing which occurred 2½ months after the ‘new will’ was drawn up.

    Note;

    The ‘friend’ also used the fact that a ‘financial management order’ had been placed over my father to support the above claims and to further support his claims he stated that ‘he didn’t think my father knew what was going on at the hearing……..’.

    As my father was following the ‘friend’s instructions at the hearing, it would have been in the friend’s best interest to agree to the ‘legal representation’ at that time.

    The provision of false and misleading evidence in NSW Equity Cort matters.

    The ‘friend'(plaintif) made verifiable false and misleading claims in his first sworn affidavit and as I was under the impression that this was a ‘criminal offence’, I raised this issue with the solicitor who represented me. and I was advised:

    1) The Judge won’t be interested in the fact that people lie in sworn affidavits.

    2) The judge will only be interested in whether or not your father had the capacity to instruct a solicitor on a particular day.

    3) We expect people to lie in these matters.

    4) It’s not the person telling the truth who wins in these matters, it’s the person who plays ‘the game’ best, who wins.

    This legal revelation allowed the ‘friend’ to play the game at the expense of the estate for almost three years after which time he offered to settle out of Court.

    As the cost of going to Court would have been greater that the financial demands of the ‘friend’, I was basically blackmailed into accepting his demands.

    The law states:

    Any person who by any deception dishonestly obtains for himself or any other person any money or valuable thing or financial advantage, is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.

    So much for the Justice system in Australia…..

  14. June Walker Says:

    In reply to Heartsore and Disgusted’s correspondence of 23rd of Feb 2013.

    I am prepared to add my name to a petition to have this incompetant and unaccountable Tribunal investigated.

    I am also prepared to use my late father’s case which resulted in a hidden financially interested party being placed as my father’s ‘private financial manager’ where he was protected from scrutiny and I was robbed of the opportunity to investiate his legal and financial dealings with my father until after he passed away 7 years after the Guardianship hearing.

    Please pass on my email address to Heartsore and Disgusted.

    The following article was published in an American newspaper in 2007 and I am bringing it to your attention as the same situation has been occurring in Australia for many years.

    Guardianship Abuse:

    Senior adults have been targeted as easy victims in a number of different scams for the last two decades now and it’s only getting worse.

    Instead of just stealing money from them or ripping them off, con artists are now actually stealing Guardianship of many senior adults.

    Some criminals have figured out that they can assume Guardianship of elderly individuals just by telling a judge they are no longer mentally stable.

    When approaching a judge, these crooks don’t have to do anything to prove that they are related to the individual they are trying to assume Guardianship of.

    Courts are so busy and over-packed with cases they just don’t have the time or resources to make sure that the person making the claim is on the up and up.

    There is no easy way to find out when this occurs, so family members often have no idea that someone is stealing Guardianship of their parents and simply have no recourse in the event that it happens.

    Usually the ruling happens quickly and the victims have no idea when it happens.

    I and many others have attempted to have these so-called ‘legal tribunals’ investigated for nearly 20 years, however, it is very apparent that it is far more ‘important’ for those in power on both sides of politics to protect this tribunal than it is to protect the vulnerable Australians who are the very reason these Tribunals exist.

    Among other alarming matters, I have proof showing that as Guardianship Tribunals do not have the jurisdiction to determine whether wrongdoing occurred prior to them receiving an application.

    I have been advised that these Tribunals were made independant to insure they were not open to misuse by politicians, yet there are no safeguards whatsoever in place to prevent or identify misuse by devious professionals or members of the public.

  15. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    Hello June Walker – I would like to speak with you – your situation was very similar to mine – I have set up a private email that I can be contacted on – thetruthaus66@hotmail.com – I am currently working with Heartsore – and others have contacted me via this email address. I too and others want our story told as case studies, to help bring about reform. Kind regards Concerned

  16. Heartsore and disgusted Says:

    Thank you, June Walker, for retelling your story which is horrific but, sadly, not uncommon. Greed seems to be the common denominator throughout these case histories. The people and family who genuinely care about the old, frail and vulnerable are always at the losing end because we don’t know how to lie, cheat, manipulate and destroy without any conscience or remorse. The Guardianship Tribunal does not rely on facts or evidence and therein lies it abject failure. This coupled with a panel which takes the least line of resistance and passes the buck to the Public Trustee and Guardian can only lead to injustice and heartache which inevitably follows. The ineptitude and indifference is simply magnified and perpetuated. This is why I have said, something must change and radical reforms are urgently needed.

    Thank you for your willingness to stand and be counted despite all the stress, heartache and justifiable anger at what has occurred during your quest for truth and fairness.

    I understand that you have been in touch with Concerned Concerned as have I. Both of us have formed an alliance with an objective to push for reforms. We have the energy, determination and passion to stop the corrosive outcomes that the Guardianship Tribunal and its cohorts, the Public Trustee and Guardian specialise in.

    To you and anyone else who is willing to join our alliance and push for reforms, please email me at guardianshipreform@beagle.com.au [this is a new address, August 2013 – Marcellous] or Concerned Concerned at Email: thethruthaus66@hotmail.com.

    Radio Stations, the press and TV consistently advertise the “benefits” of using the services of the Public Trustee & Guardian. The inexperienced, the uninformed and the unwary are seduced by their “caring” spin and hyperbole. When these people take the fateful step and see for themselves what a nightmare they have bought into, it is too late. Once in the lion’s den there is no way out. You are right, Mrs. Walker, there is no one to turn to for any positive assistance. Despite what they promote, none of the formal channels of complaint are effective – they are just another whitewash of one Govt. body by another. The only way we can get it is by being heard, by bringing attention to the public
    domain, by lobbying our MPs, by highlighting the number of complaints brought against the Guardianship Tribunal each year, by demanding an Inquiry and by insisting on reforms that will protect our families and loved ones from the callous, uncaring attitudes and mind numbing incompetence of these three Govt. bodies.

    Real people, real families, real case histories need to be heard and publicised not the useless annual audit reports presented by the Guardianship Tribunal glorifying their existence. Now is the time that we present the real truth – not a bureaucratic spin.

  17. KEVIN WEIGHT Says:

    I thougherly agree with all the comments.

  18. Gregory S[name redacted by Marcellous] Says:

    I have personal experience of the injustice perpetrated by the NSW Guardianship Tribunal and the NSW Trustee & Public Guardian. These organisations need reforming. The NSW Guardianship Act is 100 years out of date. The G.T.’s lack of rules of evidence does not and cannot be expected to deliver just outcomes. There are grounds for a class action against these [redacted] bureaucrats. You can count me in on any action which exposes these arrogant [redacted] to the public gaze.

  19. A W [I'm redacting the name - Marcellous] Says:

    Where can you find the list of complaints made to the GT.
    This is my experience; My mother has dementia (now for a number of years) I have 3 sisters. The relationship between us broke down a number of years ago when one of my sisters wanted to sell my mothers house and purchase a house for herself. We objected to that obviously. After that objection we no longer had any contact with 2 of my sisters (nor did my mother). Both my sister and I were EPOA and enduring guardians. This situation was working quite well up until September 2012 when my estranged sisters took us to the guardianship tribunal alledging all sorts of wrong doings, none of which were backed up by any evidence. The GT took the view that there was conflict within the family and so revoked EPOA and Enduring guardianship and handed everything to the NSW trustee. This has caused my other severe financial loss and it may not be the case that she will be unable to pay for her own aged care!! We recently had a hearing at the ADT for an appeal against the decision and were astounded to find out that the GT had revoked both the power of attorney and enduring guardianship but had only appointed the trustee as power of attorney leaving my mother with no enduring guardianship!!!! This leaves both my sister and I in an impossible situation as her aged care facility are doing things which we object too but as there is no current enduring guardianship it seems anybody can and has made medical and treatment decisions for my mother without A) any authority to do so and B) without advising the family. I find this situation absolutely intolerable and I am seeing a solicitor next week about taking legal action against the GT, NSW trustee and attorney general. I only hope I can recoup some of my mothers financial loss and get some control back over her medical issues. What a joke this department is, I agree there should be a royal commission or enquiry.

    • pluckaduck Says:

      How could i contact you? regarding your efforts so far with a lawyer.

    • Dissillusioned Says:

      I agree there should be a close look at the independence of decisions…. because it is not independent. Pigs feeding off the same trough. Im determined to bring these tribunals to account and to ensure their decisions are based on supporting families, not destroying them and really taking a close look at their reason for being… to come to the BEST solution for our vulnerable people. All I have seen so far is lies and not respecting the important role that families play in our loved family members lives.

  20. Wedgetailedlegal Says:

    The NSW Guardianship Tribunal is long overdue for a judicial enquiry or Royal Commission. They are incompetent – legal members do not have to hold a current practising certificate – rules of evidence don’t apply and their admin staff are extremely unhelpful to family members.
    Greg Smith needs to take a very close look at their operation and appealed decisions which end up in the Supreme Court. They hide behind the requirement for anonymity of the cases before them and believe the word of strangers before family members.

    • marcellous Says:

      The tribunal is due to be folded in to a larger “super tribunal” under legislation now proposed by the NSW government. This does not necessarily mean there will be any alteration in the way the division of the new tribunal works.

      I doubt if anything hangs on whether tribunal members hold a current practising certificate. I don’t think judges, for example, need one.

      The question of rules of evidence applying is a more difficult one: this is meant to facilitate less cumbersome and expensive decision making and to make things easier for parties to represent themselves. That’s where the all-important comma in the catchphrase “just, quick and cheap” looms large.

      • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

        My point about the practising certificate is that the legal members are only required to have 7 years post admission experience, and no current practising certificate. So no CLE requirements. The 7 years experience could have been 30 years ago. They have powers in some cases equivalent to the Supreme court but seem to be accountable to no-one unless they’re appealed.

        Their rules for evidence are made up as they go along. In my experience a mater decided by the Tribunal is rarely just, and most certainly not quick nor cheap.

        If NSW ends up with something along the lines of VCAT – Lord help us all.

      • marcellous Says:

        W,

        The whole point about a tribunal is that it should be accountable to no-one unless it is appealed.

        I don’t think CLE requirements would be any guarantee of the capacities of legal members of a tribunal.

      • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

        So, if that is your view, what is the point of this forum?

      • marcellous Says:

        Wtl

        If this has turned into a “forum” that is not really by my design but as a result of the contributions of others.

        My original post was getting off my chest some of my own reservations about the Tribunal and particularly its procedural shortcomings and making the point that if you could (mainly if money and the rules of evidence were no obstacle) you would be better going to the Supreme Court. You certainly shouldn’t expect the Tribunal caseworker to unearth any but the most flagrant wrongdoing or assume that the tribunal will do much of a truth-finding job on its own.

        I speculate that this is one reason why the tribunal, faced with family discord in relation to “elders”, takes what Heartsore etc calls the easy way out so often and hands everything over the the Public Trustee/Public Guardian.

        As you may know from my “twin” post to this, On the instructions of the Public Trustee that can be the beginning of an even less satisfactory experience for family members.

      • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

        Thank you marcellous, I will go to your twin post, though if it concerns that lame entity which advertises with monotonous frequency, dare I risk a headache. Cheers. WTL

      • Heartsore and disgusted Says:

        Dear Marcellous,
        What everyone agrees on is that the Tribunal in its current form is not working – what is the point of having “cheap and cheerful” if it is useless; We need to have a Specialist Court that operates in an effective and competent manner without bias and prejudice on proven and substantial evidence;
        We are also saying that the quality of the Panel encourages “buck passing” to the Public guardian and Public Trustee as it is “all too hard” for them. This is why the qualifications,must include expertise, experience and understanding of the needs of the disabled and must form part of their CV. The standard that I have seen so far beggars belief. Again, cheap and cheerful (cheerful being tongue in cheek).
        Accountability and transparency MUST form part of any Govt. body otherwise that too becomes a farce. We are talking about human beings, families, carers not faceless statistics who are caused undue stress and/or financial hardship as a result of the “decisions made in the best interest” of the represented person.Guardian of “last resort” becomes “Public Guardian of first choice” and “family conflict/sibling rivalry” becomes the same thing. Never mind the facts and evidence – lets just go home early and hand it over the the PT&PG. The Tribunal has no accountability and is not bound by rules of evidence – WOW – what a great way to achieve fairness and justice and work in the “best interests” of the represented person. You are right in what you say but we are right in saying radical reform is imperative.
        None of those entities achieve the aims and outcomes underpinning the NSW Trustee & Guardianship Act 2009 or the Guardianship Act 1987. None of them operate in an effective or competent manner and so they have no value other than the ability to destroy and destruct.

    • June Walker Says:

      The following information was published in an American newspaper in 2007 under the heading of ‘Guardianship Abuse’ and I am bringing it to you attention as my late father lost his basic human rights under the same unacceptable situation which has been occurring in Australia for many years.

      Guardianship Abuse:

      •Senior adults have been targeted as easy victims in a number of different scams for the last two decades now and it’s only getting worse.

      •Instead of just stealing money from them or ripping them off, con artists are now actually stealing Guardianship of many senior adults.

      •Some criminals have figured out that they can assume Guardianship of elderly individuals just by telling a judge they are no longer mentally stable.

      •When approaching a judge, these crooks don’t have to do anything to prove that they are related to the individual they are trying to assume Guardianship of.

      •Courts are so busy and over-packed with cases they just don’t have the time or resources to make sure that the person making the claim is on the up and up.

      •There is no easy way to find out when this occurs, so family members often have no idea that someone is stealing Guardianship of their parents and simply have no recourse in the event that it happens.

      •Usually the ruling happens quickly and the victims have no idea when it happens.

      As these ‘legal’ Tribunals in Australia do not have the jurisdiction to determine whether wrongdoing occurred prior to an application being received and applicants can lie in applications without any consequences, there are no effective ‘safeguards’ in place to protect the vulnerable subjects of applications from ‘hidden’ or other financially interested parties who do not have a ‘genuine concern’ for them and therefore these financial predators (con artists) are able to use the free ‘legal services’ of these Tribunals as a means of gaining financially by deception.

      Prior to providing a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Review of Guardianship Laws in Victoria a year or two ago, I contacted a Victorian Guardianship Tribunal information officer in relation to the Tribunal role of protecting the subjects of applications from abuse, neglect and exploitation and I asked:

      1. “Does your Tribunal have the jurisdiction to determine whether wrongdoing has occurred prior to an application being lodg
      ed” and I was advised:

      “No we don’t”.

      I then asked ” How would the Tribunal members know if the subject of an application was a hidden victim of pior financial exploitation or if an applicant was a ‘hidden’ perpetrator of this crime” and I was advised:

      “We wouldn’t know because we don’t have a crystal ball”.

      These disgraceful Tribunals are making ‘legal decisions’ regarding the rights, welfare and protection of people with disabilities with the lights off and it’s time someone turned the spotlight on them.

      • webprintsmith Says:

        Hi June-
        In regard to your signing a petition to have the activities of the Guardianship Tribunal investigated. My colleague and I are in the process of setting up a website which will include the petition which we are presently preparing. The need for reform of the guardianship Acts has been thoroughly canvassed in recent years. The NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues published their final report on their Inquiry into the Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities early in 2010. That report received submissions from all the peak bodies involved in the issue including People With Disabilities (Australia) and the Mental Health Co-ordinating Council. Concrete proposals for legislative change to the guardianship Acts are included in the final report.
        Legislative change will not come about unless we citizens demand it. We will need volunteers to circulate the petition as well as sign it.
        Thanks you,
        webprintsmith

  21. Wedgetailedlegal Says:

    June,
    Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed post.

    Everything you say applies equally, in my experience, to the NSW Tribunal. There are some good people there but are outnumbered by the incompetent, disinterested, and those with an agenda of their own.

    Even when a decision is appealed in the Supreme Court the original Tribunal members are not named so there are no obvious consequences.

    Unrepresented parties would be lucky to know of the right to appeal, they certainly won’t hear it from the Case officer.

    My opinion only.

  22. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    I thank everyone for commenting thus far. This helps validate that what we have been through with the GT etc – is not unusual and you are not Robinson Crusoe. One does not realise that we do not live in a “just” society untill you go through situations like these with some of our Govt bodies or legal systems like this tribunal.

  23. webprintsmith Says:

    Hi o(redacted) – Regarding your support for a petition to reform guardianship laws in NSW,. My colleague and I are presently finalising a petition. A website under the name Action Group for Guardianship Reform is planned, where you will be able to download the petition..
    Thanks.

    • o[redacted]70 Says:

      Thank you webprintsmith, I am eager to ‘sign up’.
      I am astounded by the incompetence, with an appeal period of 28 days, a minimum of 2 & a half weeks for transcripts to be prepared & it takes them 5 days to return a telephone call of which they cannot answer 1 question about their own procedures.
      Thankfully at this stage I am aware of extensions. I was not aware that additional submissions could be made after the initial lodgement, I was not aware that a leave could be requested nor was I aware that documents could be obtained via subpoena.
      My deepest regret is that I did not find this blog prior to any
      action being taken.

  24. June Walker Says:

    While there are very strong safeguards in place to ‘protect’ the tribunal, its members and staff and also applicants, there are no effective safeguards in place to ‘protect’ the vulnerable ‘persons concerned’ who are the very reason for the existance of this corrupt Tribunal.

    As applicants in my late father’s matter provided false and misleading information in applications without being placed under scrutiny and as one of these ‘offenders’ didn’t attend the hearing, the expert Tribunal members simply fabricated an excuse that had no bearig on the truth or reality on his behalf, I rang the Tribunal and asked a ‘Claytons Investigation Officer’ “What is the purpose of Sections 105 and 106 of the NSW Guardianship Act of 1987 which state ‘It is an offence to provide false or misleading information in an application. Penalty up to $500.00’ and theywere unable to answer this question.

    On of the Investigation Officers advised me that during her 5 years with the Tribunal, no-one had been penalized for the provision of false or misleading during that time.

    Among other spin, a former Tribunal President advised me in writing ‘It is not the role of the Tribunal to determine the truth or otherwise of allegations made before it’.

    Regarding ‘safeguards’ to protect the ‘persons concerned’ in Guardianship matters:

    At a NSW Social Issues Committee Inquiry into Substitute Decision Making a Committee member asked a former NSW Guardianship Tribunal President the following question:

    What safeguards are in place during Tribunal hearings to minimize the opportunity for people to exploit persons lacking capacity by having them- selves appointed in the substitute decision-making role?

    The former President replied:

    I guess the safeguards come from the fact that we are undertaking a legal process.

    We are making the decision about the suitability of a person for appointment based on evidence presented, and we are rigorously testing that evidence.

    Say you came along and said, “Look, I want to be the financial manager for Mr. West.” I would be asking you about your experience and your knowledge of Mr. West and his views, whether your finances are intermingled with his in any way and what your plans are for his estate.

    We would ask you a whole range of questions to make sure that you would be able to undertake this role.

    I have this investigation unit who will have spoken to other people around you and around the person with the disability and if there is anything that is really untoward hopefully they would have identified that and that would be apparent to us.

    The other safeguard of course is that when you are appointed as a financial manager you are under the direction of the New South Wales Trustee. You are not on your own.

    We are not just giving you carte blanche and leaving you to your own devices. So there are a number of safeguards. Primarily the tribunal process is a court substitute tribunal. So we are hearing evidence, testing evidence in that way.

    In responce to the above:

    Is guessing that safeguards are in place good enough:

    As indicated previously, my late father was a hidden victim of prior financial exploitation via a ‘new friend’s’ interference with his wills when he appeared before this Tribunal and regardless of the three ‘expert tribunal members’ being aware that I totally distrusted this ‘friend’ and his solicitor friend who for then unknown reasons had become my father’s solicitor ( this should raise a red flag to possible financial exploitation) when the so-called ‘legal process’ was completed the ‘new friend’ was placed as my father’s (the victims) ‘private financial manager’ where he was protected from scrutiny by the OPC and I was robbed of the opportunity to investigate his past financial and legal dealings with my father until after he died seven years after the hearing.

    So much for the ‘safeguards’ in the NSW Guardianship Tribunal ‘legal process’

    Regarding the Office of the Protective Commissioners (OPC) now State Trustees role of supervising ‘private financial managers’.

    When my father’s $2. something dollar property was sold in around 2000, I asked the OPC what supervision the ‘private financial manager’ was under during this processand I was very curtly advised:

    We don’t supervise ‘private financial managers’ we trust their integrity.

    • marcellous Says:

      June

      I understand your anger but nothing you say in your comment justifies your claim that the tribunal is “corrupt.” I don’t think, however, that it really tests evidence particularly rigorously, and its investigation on its own behalf (on my own experience) is pretty superficial. That is really what I dealt with in my comments in the post in the first place and the example you give in your own case is entirely consistent with that.

      • June Walker Says:

        Dear Marcellous

        I appreciate your feedback and perhaps ‘corrupt’ was a bad choice of words, however when the tribunal members falsely state in their findings that they are satisfied they gave ‘due weight’ to all of the allegations before them, when they denied a party to the proceedings natural justice and when they disreguard sections 105 and 106 of the ACT of 1987, perhaps unethical or dishonest would have been a better choice of words.

    • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

      Hi June,

      In my opinion the Tribunal wouldn’t know the meaning of s. 105 if it bit them. Professional applicants can blatantly lie and are not challenged. Families and their expert witnesses are subjected to insulting questioning with the onus being on the subject person to prove capacity, even though the legal position is that capacity is assumed unless it can be disproved.
      If Basil Fawlty was in charge the place would improve.

  25. marcellous Says:

    June, neither “unethical” or “dishonest” is much of an improvement on “corrupt.” The statements you quote are typical statements of a tribunal of fact which are meant to protect its decision against appeal (even though they are self-serving since how can a tribunal say for itself whether it gave something due weight?) on the basis that no account was taken of something.

    I think the situation with the tribunal is often that they are simply unequipped (for the reasons I have stated in my post) to determine the truth or otherwise of competing claims, and so content themselves with confiding the affairs of a person to the NSW Trustee (or whatever it is exactly called now) as a neutral solution. Where the elder (in “elder” cases) is far-gone, they probably think it won’t make much difference to the elder. The fact is that they are not greatly concerned about the feelings of family members or justice between them.

    As for sections 105 and 106 of the Act, the tribunal is really no different from most tribunals or courts. It may surprise a layperson, but perjury happens all the time and even when it is detected by a fact-finder (at least to the extent that evidence is characterised as unreliable or not to be followed unless corroborated, which is often a euphemism) is almost never punished beyond not being believed, or even prosecuted. Off the top of my head I would say that the greatest likelihood of prosecution for perjury would be when a demonstrable lie is told about a policeman and a vendetta ensues. (Conversely, policemen lie and are not believed with scarcely an adverse consequence to them at all.)

    This is partly because you can not believe someone either on the balance of probabilities or because you have a reasonable doubt as to their truthfulness, but to get a conviction that someone has not told the truth you have to be able to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt – in particular you need to exclude the reasonable doubt that they were (honestly/innocently) mistaken.

    The other point to bear in mind is, as with courts, the tribunal has no responsibility for enforcing these sections (which deal with the requirement to tell the truth and the penalties for not doing so) and it would require the matter to be referred to the police or the DPP for any prosecution to ensue. The tribunal has neither the capacity, resources or will to enforce these sections.

  26. KEVIN WEIGHT Says:

    THESE PEOPLE ARE OUR SERVANTS ,WE ARE NOT THEIRS AND IT IS OUR MONEY THEY ARE MISAPPROPIATING.,NOT THEIRS.

  27. Ronda Macgregor Says:

    My experience replicates all that is said above and the conclusions I drew about the Tribunal and the Trustee are the same. Neither body is competent, neither subject to scrutiny, yet both make life affecting decisions. They both need reforming or disbanding.

    • marcellous Says:

      In fairness, there are probably others who think the Tribunal has taken some very wise decisions, and possibly likewise even the Trustee and Guardian. However, it is certainly the case that there is a reluctance on the part of supervisory bodies to scrutinize the decisions of either with any vigour. The nature of the Tribunal’s procedure is not always amenable to a determined search for the truth even according to law.

      The biggest problem comes with a combination of the tendency of the Tribunal in family disputes about “elders” to sidestep determining the rights and wrongs of the dispute by handing everything over to the Trustee, and then the tendency of the Trustee to take exactly the same approach – that is, if the Trustee does anything at all except realise the elder’s home at a discount and put them into a home.

      • Ronda Macgregor Says:

        The fact that the Tribunal, in this instance, heard claims and allegations without asking for evidence in support; the fact that it then passed the parcel to the Trustee; the fact that the Trustee makes regular errors – not paying accounts, accumulating late fee and interest charges at the bank, etc; the fact that, by way of example, after nine weeks I am still waiting for an account to be opened to supply my partner with continence aids; and much more.

        It is the minutiae of the everyday that is mismanaged and causes stress and is a gross waste of my time, and all because of a decision made on untested allegations.

        Sitting through the hearings destroyed my faith in the law. Living with the consequences is galling. Knowing my only recourse is to the Family Court at significant cost outrages me.

      • marcellous Says:

        Ronda

        I don’t really want to make this post the site of specific complaints about the conduct of the Trustee in relation to identifiable (to some) people and so I have not “passed” your latest comment.

        The thing is, people’s financial affairs are complicated and involve myriad matters requiring attention. It is a bit like housekeeping and personal care. Things you or your family can do for yourselves and each other relatively informally and conveniently become much more difficult and also expensive if they have to be done as a paid service and at arm’s length. That’s why nursing and aged care and, for that matter, hotels, are so expensive. Even if the Trustee were better at doing what it is meant to do, it could never be perfect.

        That’s not to say that one doesn’t wish it could be better, and that the Tribunal could be more careful before committing people’s affairs to its tender care.

      • Ronda Macgregor Says:

        If banks can set up systems to manage billions of dollars for millions of people, I expect the Trustee to be able to do the same.

        Paying regular accounts on time is a simple automatic function.

        If it can’t do the simple things then what is t doing with the more complex?

        Why send the management of anyone’s affairs to a body that cannot do the work, for whatever reasons?

        I understand what you say, and what it says. Delete me from your blog.

        Regards

    • webprintsmith Says:

      Rhonda is right. The Guardianship Tribunal has no rules of evidence which means they can accept and make decisions on whichever submissions or purported facts suit them.

  28. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    Rhonda it is natural that you feel this way, what we have been put through by these bodies it a gross injustice, urgent reform needs to occur. In regards to the NSWTG, and your current dealings with them, I suggest to contact your local member with your complaints. In regards to the GT – if they are interim orders you should be able to gain another hearing. Regards

  29. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    Marcellous,

    Who are the “supervisory bodies” to scrutinize the decisions of the Gt and NSWTG – in particular the GT. The Attorney General will not comment on any case no matter how wrong the findings are in relation to fairness and points of law? That is why we state the GT are above the law in this context.
    Regards

    • marcellous Says:

      ccc

      I meant the courts and tribunals with powers of review or the power to enjoin. I’m not saying they provide adequate supervision.

      However, I am also mindful that in some cases there are family disputes which will never achieve finality and that no decision will ever be accepted by either side. The facts can be complex and the labour of determining the truth or falsity of one side or the other can at times be of little use to the “elder” in the middle. That is why the Tribunal is so ready to simply take the affairs of an elder away from the competing family disputants. I think that the Tribunal does this too readily but that is partly a function of the Tribunal’s resources and the way it is set up to operate in a low-cost way.

      For almost everybody here who complains about the Tribunal, there is presumably someone else who thinks the Tribunal got it right, though in elder-in-the-middle cases neither is likely to be satisfied with the Trustee & Guardian.

      • Dissillusioned Says:

        Our family is united in every sense. We had our loved one made a ward of the state and he is getting abused every week…. and they insist that he goes back there to get abused more.

  30. Ronda Macgregor Says:

    There is no denying the complexity of family disputes. However, my experience with the GT tells me that you can manufacture a case, lie in short, and because statements don’t require proof and are not tested the decision made can disadvantage everyone except the person making the claims. It can, in short, be used as a venue for revenge.

    As to “getting it right”, I regularly attend carers meetings and have done for years and have yet to hear anyone express satisfaction with GT processes and decisions.

    Low cost law does not justify this blunt instrument.

  31. Heartsore and disgusted Says:

    From a legal viewpoint, whether we like it or not, the fact is, Marcellous is right in what he says in his reply of May 31. From a practical point of view, is the Tribunal effective – No. Does it do more harm than good – Yes. Should it be disbanded and a new Special Court formed which has investigative powers and relies on rules of evidence – Absolutely. Will it ever happen – Not in my lifetime!

    The Tribunal “suits the purpose” for politicians and Govt. bodies – to be seen to be doing something for the people. If you read all the blurb and propaganda that the Tribunal and the Public Trustee & Guardian impart on the unwary, you would think that these Bodies were angels on our shoulders. Nothing could be further from the truth but no career politician will open this Pandora’s box of horrors so nothing changes no matter how hard we try.

    From the copious amount of research I have undertaken in this area, millions of words have been written and submissions made to the Legislative Assembly pointing out the failures of the Tribunal and recommendations by the Law Reform Committee have been made but we are still left with the status quo. Who supervises the supervisor – no one!

    We are stuck with a Tribunal that is a sham and which is simply a clearing house for the Public Trustee and Guardian. The fact that the Tribunal has members of the Public Guardian sitting on the panel in Tribunal hearings not only highlights a “conflict of interest” but ensures that the Public Trustee, as a commercial arm of the Govt., keeps the dollars keep flowing in and the Public Guardian – all public servants – keep their job for another day. It is well known that, in law, life is cheap but commerce is not and must be defended at all costs. That is our public service and the public service throughout the world. Just look at what happens in other countries and their complaints about Guardianship .

    If any reforms and inquiries are to be sought and made, they must be directed towards the Public Trustee and Guardian. They are the worst offenders because in the final analysis it is they who “own” the protected person and destroy families. The incompetence of both defies description. The Public Trustee could not run a “tuck shop” and the Public Guardian is staffed by individuals who lack the basics of common sense let alone any rational or considered decision making ability. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence, no matter their personal disposition, would end up banging their heads against the wall in frustration at the stupidity, insensitivity, lack of insight and plain common sense displayed at every level by these public servants. Even the Ombudsman, clearly aware of all the complaints, acknowledges that it cannot do much to enforce change.

    So what can we do? Despite all the work I have done to date, I have abandoned the unwinnable battle seeking reform of the Tribunal and instead, will direct my efforts for an Inquiry into and Reforms of the Public Trustee and Guardian. Exposure of those two bodies and the manner in which they operate is most urgent.
    Marcellous may be right in saying that some may be happy with the Tribunal and dare I say, the Public Trustee and Guardian but I would wager that the percentage is minimal. There are too many years of horror stores by too many people for a shakeup not to occur. This is something I am prepared to pursue and as soon as I can structure a Plan of Action and garner the support I need, I will be relentless in my efforts. It only takes one to start. Hopefully many will follow. In the meantime, I thank Marcellous for his website, for his input and for giving all of us a forum where we can voice our concerns.

    • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

      The only ones who could be happy with the Tribunal are the Tribunal and likewise the Public Trustee. They are their own best fans.

  32. Catherine Says:

    I have been driven to the point of … well I don’t really want to say as I respect life too much.I have endured days without sleep,feeling frustrated ,indignant , disguarded and unheard by the Guardianship tribunal.It’s decision to place my mother’s estate- our family home of 52 years in the control of the Public Trustee is outrageous.

    .I have lived with and cared for my mother for 17 years.I moved back to the family home with my two children to care for her at her request after she had 2 knee replacements ,a hip replacement and chronic COPD- she also has incontinence and dermatitis.I owned my own home,worked full time as a high school teacher and did not live with my mother for my own benefit.

    After my father’s death – my parents being in their 70’s and unwell- the family home had fallen into disarray.110 years old it was quite dilapidated. I borrowed against my house to renovate and repair my family home.I am an only child. The family home is dear to us all.

    I have been under enormous stress for over a period of 2 years and to seek some support I asked my daughter to apply for formal Financial guardianship of my mother’s financial affairs.I discussed this both with my mother and daughter.

    My mother has onset dementia -she cannot understand complex financial arrangements but she can understand basic things like ‘who she wants to pay the bills ,and look after her personal financial affairs.My daughter applied for Financial management of my mother’s affairs- with my mother’s full support ,my full support and my son’s full support. Both my son and daughter have University degrees in Accounting and Finance – my son being a Financial Manager at a University.My daughter having worked at Major Investment banks.

    I am under stress due to misprepresentations by brokers and bank representatives that placed me in a tenuous position – but I have legal council advising that I have a case in law against the perpetrators of my situation.I am in the process of dealing with this all.

    I felt that since my children are capable and now in their late 20’s they would be better suited to manage Mum’s affairs- which include a humble house and her pension account only .She has no other assets or accounts.I am tenant in common with my mother as my parents were divorced some time before my father’s death.

    Instead of appointing my daughter or son as Financial managers the Tribunal appointed the Financial Guardianship to the NSW trustee-without giving reason.T

    he next thing we received an order to ‘hand over ‘ my mother’s estate.We live in this ‘estate”- ie the family home .We are the sole beneficiaries to the Estate.We have lived together for 17 years and Mum could not be in a better place and with better care surrounded by her loved ones.

    We do not want an external body handing our family affairs.There is no dispute between us or any need for the Trustee.

    The worse thing about it is the irony- There is an implication that by the external appointment it would seem that we are deemed as unable to act for the best interests of my mother- our lives revolve around her – despite her dementia – she expressed moments of clear wisdom- and she wants her grandchildren to take responsibility for her Financial Affairs- the tribunal has totally ignored her wishes,the wishes of he family members and her careers.

    Does anybody know what I can do – besides the ‘client ‘ being able to manage their affairs,on what grounds can an order be removed.Mum won’t be able to manage her financial affairs.
    I
    I am happy to support any action against the tribunal.

    • marcellous Says:

      I cannot give legal advice here. Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight in the absence of a dispute between any family members it was a great mistake to go anywhere near the tribunal. The tribunal is required to give reasons if you ask and you should seek legal advice about this (you may be out of time for that if you have not done so already). I do wonder about the stress you say you are under owing to brokers and bank representatives, etc. If this has exposed your share of the house as tenant in common and as a result led to a risk that the house could be sold, that might be a reason why the tribunal/consequentially-trustee has taken this step, though perhaps that is why you wanted your children to take over your mother’s affairs.

    • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

      Catherine, the Tribunal are required to give reasons for the decision, this usually takes about a month after the hearing. Agree with Marcellous you need to urgently seek legal advice and preferably from a practitioner with experience in the Tribunal . There are a couple of good ones in Sydney.

  33. June Walker Says:

    Hello Catherine,

    You are just one of many people who have been hurt by this so-called ‘legal tribunal’ and as there is no ‘conflict’ in the family, it will be interesting to see the reason they come up with to explain the decision to hand over your mother’s affairs to the State Trustees.

    There was a story on Today Tonight last year regarding an elderly lady who was in the early stages of dementia when her daughter placed her in an aged care facility for a 20 day respite while her father was seriously ill in hospital.

    During the 20 day period the daughter returned to the facility to take her mother to visit her husband (the daughter’s father) who was not expected to live.

    On her arrival at the facility, the facility manager advised the daughter that she could not see her mother or remove her from the facility,

    He then advised the daughter that he had become her mother’s ‘guardian’ and the State Trustees’ were managing her affairs. The daughter was told to leave the premises.

    There is much more to this story however, the daughter eventually removed her mother from the facility and the mother told the reporter that the facility management had given her some papers to sign and although she didn’t understand what she was signing, she was too scared not to do what she was told and she had not advised them that she did not want to see her daughter.

    As per usual there was no follow up on this story, so we don’t know if the daughter had the ‘legal decision’ to appoint the facility manager as ‘the guardian’ and the ‘State Trustees’ involvement overturned.

    This makes one wonder if there is something underhanded going on between the Guardianship Tribunals and the State Trustees…….

    • marcellous Says:

      June, wondering is understandable but I don’t think there is anything underhanded going on – it is all out in the open. The Tribunal and the Trustee are institutionally in the same camp: set up by the state to deal with often almost intractable disputes within families where it is difficult and expensive for any outsider to determine the rights and wrongs. This leads to a kind of fix-all throw-into-the-basket approach where the affairs of people are entrusted by the Tribunal to the safe (but sometimes dangerous in their becardiganed and under-resourced slow-movingness and indifference) hands of the Trustee.

  34. concerned concerned concerned Says:

    I disagree Marcellous but understand your thoughts. As in my father’s case the new lawyer representing him at the tribunal was the long lost relatives lawyer also. We were wanting him protected from this long lost relative. The lawyer representing my father was having private meetings with the panel – legal member on the panel. Information submitted from this lawyer and long lost relative, we were not afforded copies of, as under the act they can determine their own procedures. Even under the Gippa act/FOI I have not been able to gain this information which includes doctors reports. So much for a transparent process. Findings were based on some of this information but my party to this day are not afforded copies of this information. Nor were my party afforded private meetings, or for that matter, the act was amended so I could not get a copy of the transcript?. “Underhanded” in my personal opinion does not even slightly come close to describing what we have been subjected to.

    • marcellous Says:

      That is disquieting if true (obviously I have nothing other than your account) but I don’t think it betokens anything underhand between the Guardianship Tribunal and the Trustee, which is what I was commenting on, ccc.

  35. River Says:

    Hi,
    I need to know the name of law firms that can deal with appealing a decision made by the Guardianship Tribunal to appoint the NSW Trustee and Guardian as my grandmothers financial manager. I understand their motives for doing so, and that in extreme cases where family members fight and argue that having an outsider might be best, but in our case that is not the case. We are a family that bind together and love each other, there is no conflict and the Guardianship Tribunal refused to hear our side of events – totally ignored the background to which this situation arose and also ignored my grandmothers wishes which were that she wanted her family to continue to manage her affairs.

    • Wedgetailedlegal Says:

      Hi,
      I can recommend an excellent practitioner in Sydney who recently successfully represented a family member in a difficult case before the Tribunal.
      Prefer not to give name in a public forum but if Marcellous is willing to pass on my email address to you – or vice versa -I will give you the contact details.

    • pluckaduck Says:

      Rivers, how can i contact you??? I am in a very similar position as you.

  36. ROKESKY Says:

    I have been trying to send an email to action@guardianshipreform.com.au (Heartsore & Disgusted) but I have received a failure message.

  37. Paul Contempree Says:

    FREE SANDY FROM THE NSW PUBLIC TRUSTEE & GUARDIAN (NSWTG).

    (The NSW Public Trustee & Guardian, the Life and Asset Seizers)

    ———– ————– ————- ———–

    G’DAY, MY NAME IS Paul Contempree.

    I AM WILLING TO JOIN A PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO EXPOSE THE NSWTG.

    THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA NEED TO BE FOREWARNED !

    PLEASE EMAIL ME…

    Email: freesandy@live.com.au

  38. BendigoBanksters Says:

    My own family have had serious issues with the Guardianship Tribunal, where it appears that they are completely out of control and don’t even follow there own rules.

    From what I have seen they are basically a joke, but a joke that have some very serious consequences that can become the rumination and destruction of a family.

    Culminating with some one being appointed Guardian that has nothing to do with the family and with serious conflict of interests.

    A Current Affair ran a very interesting segment this week, where in fact the Genesis of the issue lay directly at the feet of the Guardianship Tribunal, that should have never allowed the Private Guardians to be appointed in the first place.

  39. pluckaduck Says:

    hello anyone????????????

  40. A [redacted] Says:

    For everyone’s information – I have been dealing with the NSW trustee and the Guardianship tribunal for the last year (my mothers finances were taken over even though no financial order was asked for) since then the trustee has spent over $81,000 of my mothers very limited funds and refuse to tell us why. I have written over 150 letters to both these entities and they completely ignore me. I have asked the NSW ombudsman to compel them to reply and they have begun to reply but only in limited amounts. The bottom line they tell me is that my mothers matters are now a privacy issue and they cant tell me anything….can You imagine. I have been zealous in my attack on the legislation and the act and they have launched a vendetta against my family…because I have asked about the finances and they realise my mother will now not have enough funds to continue in the aged care facility she is in they have begun asking if she has any further funds. My reply was that YES I have hidden all her money in a swiss bank account..HAHA.. Yesterday I receive a letter from the NSW trustee telling me that they have obtained a copy of my fathers will (he died 13 years ago) and his death certificate …that was it…no explanation – nothing…just a note to say they have obtained a copy of those documents. My response is how dare they invade my deceased fathers private information. Are they looking if we have hidden any money – which we have not… they should only be concerned with my mothers current status….not her status 13 years ago…I am so outraged by this invasion of privacy I can barely hold in my emotions. My mothers finances were taken over for a year and that year is up with a review next week.. we all no what the outcome will be…I have researched the ADT appeals and no appeal against the guardianship tribunal has been overturned in 3 years….I will however appearl to the supreme court after the review. I am starting a facebook page called I HATE THE NSW GUARDIANSHIP TRIBUNAL AND NSW TRUSTEE…LOOK FOR IT AND LIKE and share your stories.
    A [redacted].

  41. BendigoBanksters Says:

    Hi A [redacted],

    You’re not the only one that is ticked off with the tribunal and its evil offshoots. Please click on my link and join the Facebook Page. We are starting to get organized and ready for the fight.

    Much at this point is happening behind the scenes, as we prepare to have this Governmental Medusa’s head cut off once and for all…:)

  42. A [redacted] Says:

    Re my comments above. My facebook page is The NSW guardianship tribunal and NSW trustee destroys lives. Like the page and share your stories.

  43. prue Says:

    My husband is financial manager for his father, through the tribunal, and yet any time he goes to obtain money, for his father. He has to get all the family’s permission, in writing, by registered mail.Even though my husband is financial manager and his dad wants nothing to do with the rest of the family, as they were the people who have taken him to the tribunal in the first place.we are at a loss at why a gentleman of his age should have to be treated like this. It is his money, he has worked hard,and should be able to spend it as he wishes, within reason, with the guidance of his son.

  44. BendigoBanksters Says:

    Hi Prue,

    There are literally 100’s if not 100s of people that have been effected my this evil Medusa “The NSW Guardianship Tribunal” that needs to have it’s head legally lobed off, before it does any more damage to, Individuals, Families and the NSW Economy.

    I hope this link works and if not you can just cut and paste it in your browser, it is a link to a story in the New Castle Herald about yet another case with the Tribunal.

    http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1605785/tribunal-tightens-grip-on-lake-pensioners-money/

  45. pluckaduck Says:

    So what can we all do about it????

    • BendigoBanksters Says:

      We have to work together and create Political Allies from Elderly. Dementia and other Associations that have the ears and the attention of the Laws Makers in the NSW Parliament, this is not a battle that can we won alone for as the saying goes “United We Stand and Dividend We Fall”.

      This will never be won by a lone voice in the wilderness, this not a politically partisan issue, nor does it matter if you are Gay or Straight, Rich or Poor, Black, White, Hispanic or Asian and it is not even a question of Age either.

      My wife is an American and this whole saga just sent a shiver down her spine and brought back horrific memories of a Guardian and Trustee, that was out of control back in 1989 with little that she could do and a court system that was so complicated that she had no idea what to do.

      My friends we will call her Father just Richard for the sake of this post and he was a man that she loved so much, as most young ladies do, she was adopted by her Father and Mother who loved her just as much.

      But the marriage didn’t last, not because her parents argued or hated each other, they divorced because her father Richard realized he was Gay and decided to come out.

      She still adored her father but then to her horror there was a problem something that she couldn’t understand and just throw her for a loop,

      Richard became a victim of HIV that developed in to AIDS and it hit him bad.

      It is not AIDS that kills you, it is the failure of your immune system that allows other deceases to take control of your body or brain and eventually takes your life.

      Richard also had a Guardian and Trustee that proceed to have Richard execute various wills while he was in a diminished state and his cash whas stripped. Estate was taken over by other beneficiaries all in for there slice of the cake, including the Guardian and Trustee.

      It was one of her father friends that was an Attorney who took her to her fathers Favorite Restaurant rather than his law office and broke the news to her. That Contesting the Will or Chasing the Guardian and Trustee under the law at that time was futile, as she cried others of her Fathers Gay Friends arrived at the Restaurant and they had all gotten together to create a trust for her and her children themselves.

      The moral of the story is that only by standing together and finding solutions can we win, this movement will grow and it has only just started and with allies from other Associations will we succeed..!!

  46. BendigoBanksters Says:

    Well, well as you dig a little deeper under the surface it’s amazing what you find, especially when you come across The United Nations Treat for the Disabled and the CRPD, what does one find that Dementia is a Disability.

    It is not a hard bow to draw to find that what has been happening to at least a Certain Class of Elderly Abuse Victims in Australia is in fact Human Rights Abuses under International Treaties signed and ratified by Australia…:)

    This could get interesting indeed and some very Eminent People here in the USA are start to have a look at that option of the issue, that are far more qualified than I am to investigate this angel of the issue..:)

    Sadly the United states haven’t signed the same treaties as Australia and that is a good reason for those people to be looking at this angle and what are the ramifications of it..!!

    I guess the old saying of there is more than one way to skin a cat, just might be true after all..:)

  47. kingham007 Says:

    Having read most of the posts everyone here has an axe to grind with decisions handed down by the Guardianship Tribunal NSW. If everyone is serious about a petition then individual cases will not achieve such a result. It is not united and definitely every case has differences.
    The issues here are not our individual decisions it is about the conduct of those hearings. The first and foremost thing to do is to identify the presiding members who make such decisions. This is the key is it down to a few or the many. Some of you have called the Tribunal in general corrupt. Well that will get us nowhere, a whole establishment will not be believed as being corrupt.
    Suggestions:-
    1. Either your matter involved the guardian of a person/family member, Financial Manager of those persons or both. A competency test was firstly initiated, based on expert medical evidence.
    2. We have all had hearing where it involved issues with the above. Firstly to have the Guardian removed especially the Public Guardian is hard in two respects. Firstly the actual Guardian is receptive to changing facilities and other issues in the best interests of the person. That is a fact; secondly you really would not want to challenge this. In case of death in a Nursing Home you are the first candidate and will be at the coroner’s court. Believe you me if suspicious allegations fall where they may.
    3. Most issues involve the financial management of a person not capable. Does the hearing have to investigate. Yes they do but it is dependent on the case officer. If he/she is incompetent then the hearing will become incompetent. (I refer to the House of Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted by the then Deputy President Marion Brown who stated (paragraph 4 the NSW Guardianship Tribunal is well aware of the kinds of fraud and financial abuse that is detailed in the Attorney Generals Advisory Committee (AGAC) submission. Those examples are representative of issues exposed in the hearing of applications).
    4. Look at the issues that arose at the hearing, were there lies told by the other party. If so rebut the lies and attack the issue this way. (Young J said: In the case of a relative, the Court must look to see that there are minimal conflicts of interest, or, if conflicts of interest cannot be avoided, that they are properly dealt with. In the case of a private manager who purports to have financial expertise, the Court needs to be satisfied not only of that person’s good fame and character and of his or her ability generally to manage funds, but also that that person has a good conception as to what is required of a fund manager).[472]) (Appointing private managers Young J of the New South Wales Supreme Court) The character and fame.
    5. For most people you can review the decision made by the Tribunal in certain circumstances. Don’t believe what your told or what you read on the web site. This is the actual review here. The emphasis being on this section. In addition, when reviewing its appointment of a manager, the Tribunal may also review the financial management order under which the manager was appointed, and may take any of the actions set out in the last paragraph

    8. 3. 13. 3. Powers of the Tribunal to review orders and the Court to deal with applications to revoke orders
    The Guardianship Tribunal may conduct two kinds of review. These are:
    1. a review of the whole order, and
    2. a review of the appointment of the manager.[81
    A review of the appointment of the manager may be initiated by:
    1. the Tribunal on its own motion,
    2. a request from the NSW Trustee, or
    3. a request from any other person who, in the opinion of the Tribunal, has a genuine concern for the welfare of the person.

    Guardianship Tribunal
    The Tribunal has, in effect, the same powers whether it is dealing with what is, from the beginning a review of the whole financial management order or a review of the appointment of the manager. However, it may review only those orders that it has made.
    After a review of the whole order, the Tribunal has three options; it must vary, revoke or confirm the order. However, it may revoke the financial management order only if it:
    1. is satisfied that the person the order is about is capable of managing their affairs,[95] or
    2. considers that it is in the best interests of the person the order is about that the order be revoked (even though the Tribunal is not satisfied that the person is capable of managing their affairs).[96]
    In addition, when reviewing its appointment of a manager, the Tribunal may also review the financial management order under which the manager was appointed, and may take any of the actions set out in the last paragraph.[97]
    If the Tribunal limits its review to reviewing its appointment of the manager, then, after the review, the Tribunal may revoke or confirm that appointment. However, it may revoke the appointment under review only if:
    1. the manager themselves seeks the revocation, and
    2. the Tribunal is satisfied that it is in the best interests of the person the order is about that the appointment be revoked.[98]

    Those who seek to have the manager changed do not have to prove that the manager acted incompetently, improperly or unlawfully. They must show some reason why the manager should be replaced. The Tribunal has a broad discretion as to whether or not to replace the manager, but must be satisfied that it is in the best interests of the person whose estate is under management that the manager should be replaced before doing so. However, once so satisfied, it is “duty bound” to replace the manger.[99]
    If the outcome of the review is that the financial management order is revoked, then the appointment of the manger also comes to an end. However, if the outcome of the review is that the appointment of the manager is revoked, the Tribunal is required to appoint another person as manager of the estate under management to replace the manager whose appointment has been revoked.[100] The person whose appointment as the manager of an estate is revoked must pay over or hand over the estate to the new manager.[101]
    In a 2002 case, the Tribunal reviewed the appointment of two daughters of a woman with dementia, revoked their appointment and appointed the then Protective Commissioner (since replaced by the NSW Trustee) to manage their mother’s estate. They had failed to provide for their mother’s needs and had made gifts of $10,000 dollars each to themselves. Their view was that they were beneficiaries of their mother’s estate and she had no use for the money in her estate.[102]
    8. 11. 12. Appointing private managers
    In a 2000 case, Young J of the New South Wales Supreme Court pointed out that:
    [I]f a responsible member of the incapable person’s family, with the consent of other members of the family and particularly when joined with a person with financial expertise, seeks to be the manager, such an order will, at least at present, usually be made almost as of course.[471]
    Nevertheless, before a court or tribunal may appoint them as an administrator, it has to be satisfied that they are a “suitable person”. In the same case the Young J said:
    In the case of a relative, the Court must look to see that there are minimal conflicts of interest, or, if conflicts of interest cannot be avoided, that they are properly dealt with. In the case of a private manager who purports to have financial expertise, the Court needs to be satisfied not only of that person’s good fame and character and of his or her ability generally to manage funds, but also that that person has a good conception as to what is required of a fund manager.[472]

    Now that is a lot to take in but look at section 4 of the Guardianship Tribunal Act 1987. Especially a, and g. 4 General principles
    It is the duty of everyone exercising functions under this Act with respect to persons who have disabilities to observe the following principles:

    (a) the welfare and interests of such persons should be given paramount consideration,
    (b) the freedom of decision and freedom of action of such persons should be restricted as little as possible,
    (c) such persons should be encouraged, as far as possible, to live a normal life in the community,
    (d) the views of such persons in relation to the exercise of those functions should be taken into consideration,
    (e) the importance of preserving the family relationships and the cultural and linguistic environments of such persons should be recognised,
    (f) such persons should be encouraged, as far as possible, to be self-reliant in matters relating to their personal, domestic and financial affairs,
    (g) such persons should be protected from neglect, abuse and exploitation,
    (h) the community should be encouraged to apply and promote these principles.

    • Some of you mentioned a misleading application well to prove your issue you have to give them law to work with.
    • Common law: – (Silence may be misleading in limited circumstances. When there is a duty between parties at common law to disclose facts, then a failure to do so may be misleading conduct. Furthermore, even if there is no common law duty to disclose, a person’s silence, when considered in light of all the circumstances (other statements they have made, or other actions they have taken) may be misleading conduct. Generally, ‘mere silence’ is not misleading conduct unless there is a reasonable expectation that the person should disclose facts).

    In summary you really have to compare your case to the precedents of hierarchical courts. Here is a start.
     Whitehead, Peter — “A Review of the Response of the Courts and NSW Guardianship Tribunal to cases of Financial Abuse ” [2008] ElderLawRw 6; (2008) 5 Elder Law Review – Article 6
     O’Neill, Nick; Peisah, Carmelle — “Chapter 8 – Administration (financial management) of the Estates of Incapable People” [2011] SydUPLawBk 10; in Capacity and the Law (2011)
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MonashULawRw/2003/16.pdf
    http://netk.net.au/Contract/10Unconscionability.asp

    Like myself and others before me there is an expectation that these members know the law and will apply it. Wrong they apply no law unless you specifically put the precedents in front of them as a lay person. They take everything you say without backup as nonsense and are only reliant on expert evidence and the person who actually appears at the Tribunal. My mistake was phone link from interstate they had truck load of evidence and made the scammer Financial Manager. I even wrote to the Attorney General, believe you me his hands are tied. How did this place become so secret with a none complaint system, not even on conduct. No one accountable for their actions. So like I stated in the beginning is this down to a few or many.

  48. webprintsmith Says:

    In response to kingham007’s contribution to this discussion-

    ‘to have the Public Guardian removed is hard’
    – My sister and I had no luck trying to persuade the Guardianship Tribunal to have us replace the Public Guardian as our mother’s guardian despite the Guardianship Act’s provision that the Public Guardian should only be appointed as a last resort when no member of the person’s family was available. The reason given was that we had insufficient perception of our mother’s cognitive deficiency (dementia). As if the Public Guardian who has spoken less than a dozen words to our mother or the GT would have a better understanding of our mother with whom we have been closely connected all our lives.

    ‘the actual Guardian is receptive to changing facilities and other issues in the best interests of the person’.
    -The Public Guardian has refused permission for our mother to have either an E.A.C.H. (Now called H.C.P.) package assessment or an update to her A.C.A.T. assessment in order to determine whether our mother could be appropriately supported to return to live in her own home as she often asks to be allowed to do. The Public Guardian is able to refuse professional assessments due to the access order granted to them by the Guardianship Tribunal. During a Guardianship Tribunal hearing last year the Public Guardian refused to give her reasons for refusing permission for my mother’s assessments. Didn’t worry the G.T. trio though. The Public Guardian is one of them.

    ‘you really would not want to challenge this.’
    – Many do want to challenge the arbitrary decisions made by the tribunals and I can assure kingham007 we will.

    Whose best interests do the guardianship authorities serve?

    The notion that bureaucrats can make reasonable decisions on behalf of a person whom they do not know and do not understand is preposterous. The Guardianship Tribunal, the Public Guardian and the NSW Trustee live in each other’s pockets.

    Bon mot of the day –
    Nepotism incubates bigotry, bigotry is one of the mainstays of injustice and corruption.

    • too concerned Says:

      In reply to webprintsmith – hear hear – The motto greed is good seems to be the basis of our society, and the GT and NSWTG show no interest in facts and evidence. In criminal matters, I understand, there are three levels of analysis in relation to appeals;

      “Statutory basis of appeals

      The appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases in Australia is statute based. The standard legislative provisions which apply throughout Australia state that if the court:

      “… is of opinion that the verdict of the jury should be set aside on the ground that it is unreasonable, or cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence, or that the judgment of the court of trial should be set aside on the ground of the wrong decision of any question of law, or that on any other ground whatsoever there was a miscarriage of justice.” http://netk.net.au/australia/Australia1.asp

      The GT needs to be disolved, and a seperate court system that deals with these matters appointed. If need be smake -many of these matters need to be heard as criminal matters. All our cases are so different, but the one issue that is similar is that we believe that tested evidence was not relied on to determine reasons for findings, and there is too many loop holes in the GT’s ability under the Act to determine their own procedures, and thus show bias to one party, -the GT not being held accountalbe for wrong findings, and the GT and NSWTG have no mandatory obligations that I am aware of to report to the authorities fraud, elder abuse, and theft. There GT orders overide any matters we may believe are criminal in nature.

      Where is the justice in that!

      • marcellous Says:

        Just to make the obvious point: comments on this post do not necessarily represent the views of the blog owner.

        Making things criminal will not help because that raises the standard of proof which is required.

        The GT is in fact about to be folded in to the new super tribunal a bit like VCAT, but I don’t know if that will really make so much difference: it’s not clear to me (because I haven’t looked) whether that will lead to a change in its present procedures as a “specialist” tribunal with one (broadly) “medical” and one “community” member sitting alongside the legal member.

    • June Walker Says:

      The following information will be of interest to those who have relatives who have suffered because of ‘legal decisions’ made by the NSW Guardianship Tribunal, the Public Guardian or the State Trustees and those who have personal problems with the actions of these three Government regimes.

      On 23 July 2013, the then Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC formally referred the inquiry into Legal Barriers for People with Disabilities to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) and appointed the Disability Discrimination Commissioner Mr. Graeme Innes AM to the ALRC to support the inquiry.

      This Inquiry will examine laws and legal frameworks within the Commonwealth jurisdiction that deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity, and consider what, if any, changes could be made to Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks to address these matters.

      The ALRC’s final report is due in August 2014.

      The ALRC will be asking for submissions from members of the public around late October this year and they may also be holding public meetings around Australia.

      Review of equal recognition before the law and legal capacity for people with disability. This inquiry has regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a party and which sets out:

      •rights for people with disability to recognition before the law, to legal capacity and to access to justice on an equal basis with others, and

      •a general principle of respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons, and

      •Australian Governments’ commitment to the National Disability Strategy, which includes ‘rights protection, justice and legislation’ as a priority area for action

      •the examination of laws and legal frameworks within the Commonwealth jurisdiction that deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity, and

      •what if any changes could be made to Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks to address these matters.

      For the purposes of the inquiry, equal recognition before the law and legal capacity are to be understood as they are used in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: including referring to the rights of people with disability to make decisions and act on their own behalf.

      Scope of the reference:

      In undertaking this reference, the ALRC should consider all relevant Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks that either directly, or indirectly, impact on the recognition of people with disability before the law and their exercise of legal capacity on an equal basis with others, including in the areas of:

      Note: As there are too many to list here you can view the full list on the ALRC’s website and I will only list those that relate the Guardianship Tribunals, Public Guardians and State Trustees.

      • Supported and substitute decision making.
      • Safeguards.
      • Medical Treatment.

      There is more information available on the ALRC’s website.

      • Heartsore and disgusted Says:

        June,

        Thank you for the information regarding the ALRC’S Inquiry. I hope everyone who has participated in this forum will make submission to the ALRC – I know I will.

        However, it should be noted that there is a document published by the NSW Govt, Public Guardian -Justice & Attorney General called “NSW Public Guardianship Standards”. The first page outlines the basic principles of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has informed those guardianship standards.

        Unfortunately, there is a twist and that is why the NSW Guardianship Standards can and does make a mockery of the UNCRPD – and the Govt. allows them to do so because, in reality, neither equitability nor accountability is required by the Govt. from the GT, PT and PG.

        At page 1,of the NSW Guardianship Standards, the last para , after Article 12, states:-
        “In law there is a presumption of capacity for all people and all possible efforts should be made to assist a person to exercise their own capacity. When a person does not have
        full capacity, such incapacity is decision specific and, therefore, a person’s decision making capacity needs to be considered for each and every decision. These principles are considered to be inherent within the guardianship standards.”

        My reason for making the above comments is as follows:-

        a)from my experience, none of the panel members are specialists or indeed have an understanding of dementia
        and the various gradations of that disease;

        b)not one of the panel members had any insight into the level of incapacitation of the person upon whom they make an adjudication and thus are not competent to make any decision regarding “full capacity” of the person before them;

        c)not one of the panel members had any interaction with the incapacitated person, other than at the hearing which is an inappropriate venue for making an informed decision;

        d)not one of the panel members took into account ANYTHING the incapacitated person said no matter how lucid, firm, or logical the incapacitated person responded to any of their questions.

        The facts are, that as soon as the word “dementia” is mentioned the GT adopts a single minded attitude and the Kangaroo Court is free to throw the incapacitated person and his/her family (s) under the bus. Happy Days! Another victim, oops, “client” for the Public Guardian and the Public Trustee.

        Unless the Law Reform Commission is serious about reform and removing from the GT the right to make decision on “full capacity” and places that responsibility in the hands of true experts who have hands on experience in that area, then I remain unconvinced of a positive outcome – but I live in hope! A 5 day seminar once a year for staff does not constitute expertise.

        The power and ownership over and of the incapacitated person currently perpetrated by the gruesome threesome is an abuse of human rights at every level. Conflict within families is not a legitimate or acceptable excuse to place someone under guardianship. If there is concern, there should be supervised access, supervised financial management and if any party, family member or otherwise, abuses that trust, they should be immediately removed from any interaction with the incapacitated person.

        Regretfully, the trouble with that option which, in my opinion is absolutely workable, is that NO ONE from the gruesome threesome has the professionalism, compassion or intellectual wherewithall to carry out such tasks. If a fully independent body were set up to do so, then maybe there is a real chance for justice and human rights to prevail.

        Let the Guardianship Tribunal, and the Public Trustee & Guardian look after the most basic of cases, which I presume they could do reasonably well and remove themselves from matters which are beyond their abilities.

        As I said, I live in hope, and I sincerely thank you for all the good work you are doing. You have my support with the ALRC Inquiry and your quest for reform and justice.

  49. webprintsmith Says:

    In response to June Walker’s post. June did not mention that the ALRC’s terms of reference include states and territory guardianship laws -to what extent they promote (or adversely impact) the human and legal rights of people with cognitive disabilities. The ALRC’s website also informs us that they will be looking to highlight examples of state and territory guardianship which provide ‘best practise’ examples of guardianship law which promote the rights of people with cognitive disabilities. I do not expect many examples from NSW which arguably operates under the most backward guardianship legislation in Australia.
    I share marcellous pessimistic opinion that folding the Guardianship Tribunal into a ‘super tribunal’ is unlikely to make a substantive difference for NSW residents who become subjects of NSW guardianship laws.
    NSW guardianship legislation requires a root and branch upgrade – a comprehensive redrafting to remove the inconsistencies in NSW guardianship law which allow our guardianship bureaucrats to get away with blatant hypocrisy is required.

  50. June Walker Says:

    Dear Heartsore and Disgusted,

    The ALRC inquiry into Legal Barriers for People with Disabilities include ‘substitute decision making’ and ‘safeguards’ therefore, as long as the situation below continues, these Tribunals are incapable of ensuring that they are making ‘legal decisions’ in the best interest of the ‘person concerned’ as opposed to making ‘legal decisions’ in the best interest of ‘hidden’ or other financial predators.

    Guardianship Tribunals are not accountable to anyone.
    Guardianship Tribunals are not bound by the rules of evidence.
    Guardianship Tribunals do not have the jurisdiction to determine whether wrongdoing occurred prior to an application being lodged.
    Applicants can provide false or misleading information or in applications without any consequences.
    All evidence/ allegations are not rigorously or otherwise tested prior to or at hearings.
    They fail to abide by the laws of natural justice by discriminating between parties to proceedings.
    They hide information provided by one side of the argument from the opposing side.
    The take advise from the ‘person concerned’, who may be acting under duress from another party, without rigorously testing the claims made by the ‘person concerned’.
    There is no monitoring of the welfare of the ‘person concerned’ or of the ‘guardian/financial manager’ after hearings.

  51. June Walker Says:

    Dear Heartsore and Disgusted,

    My computer froze while I was typing this message therefore only part of my reply might have been published.

    The ALRC inquiry into Legal Barriers for People with Disabilities include ‘substitute decision making’ and ‘safeguards’ therefore, as long as the situation below continues, these Tribunals are incapable of ensuring that they are making ‘legal decisions’ in the best interest of the ‘person concerned’ as opposed to making ‘legal decisions’ in the best interest of ‘hidden’ or other financial predators.

    Guardianship Tribunals are not accountable to anyone.
    Guardianship Tribunals are not bound by the rules of evidence.
    Guardianship Tribunals do not have the jurisdiction to determine whether wrongdoing occurred prior to an application being lodged.
    Applicants can provide false or misleading information or in applications without any consequences.
    All evidence/ allegations are not rigorously or otherwise tested prior to or at hearings.
    They fail to abide by the laws of natural justice by discriminating between parties to proceedings.
    They hide information provided by one side of the argument from the opposing side.
    The take advise from the ‘person concerned’, who may be acting under duress from another party, without rigorously testing the claims made by the ‘person concerned’.
    There is no monitoring of the welfare of the ‘person concerned’ or of the ‘guardian/financial manager’ after hearings.

    All of the above work in favor of financial predators and instead of protecting the vulnerable, involuntary ‘person concerned’, as I and others have witnessed, at times these Tribunals are unwittingly contributing to the ever increasing problem of the financial exploitation of older people.

    The following American Newspaper article was published in2007. I brought this to the attention of the ALRC and to support my claim that Guardianship Abuse/Scams have been occurring in Australia for at least two decades, I have provided them with details of my late father’s case, Sam the Taxi Driver’s involvement with a Mrs. Francis Jenson, the matter of the Bendigo Bank Manager and other cases.

    Guardianship Abuse :

    Senior adults have been targeted as easy victims in a number of different scams for the last two decades now and it’s only getting worse.
    Instead of just stealing money from them or ripping them off, con artists are now actually stealing Guardianship of many senior adults.
    Some criminals have figured out that they can assume Guardianship of elderly individuals just by telling a judge they are no longer mentally stable.
    When approaching a judge, these crooks don’t have to do anything to prove that they are related to the individual they are trying to assume Guardianship of.
    Courts are so busy and over-packed with cases they just don’t have the time or resources to make sure that the person making the claim is on the up and up.
    There is no easy way to find out when this occurs, so family members often have no idea that someone is stealing Guardianship of their parents and simply have no recourse in the event that it happens.
    Usually the ruling happens quickly and the victims have no idea when it happens.

    Since forwarding information re this matter to the ALRC I have been advised that:

    They have already heard a range of concerns about guardianship and the need for increased safeguards to ensure situations like the one I referred to don’t occur.

    The ‘safeguards issue is a very important one and certainly something they will be considering and commenting on.

    If we all ‘give up’ without a fight, the problems we have experienced with these Government Regimes will continue and at least by telling our stories, those in power can’t deny their knowledge of the problems that exist should this all blow up in their faces further down the track.

    The victims of pedophile priests didn’t give up when their cries for help went unheard, it took a long time, however as we now know, they have finally been heard and are exposing those in power who turned a blind eye to the wrongdoings of their fellow priests.

  52. KEVIN WEIGHT Says:

    THE T&G AND THE GUARDIANSHIP TRIBUNAL HAVE BEEN REPORTED TO I.C.A.C. AND THE MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND COMMUNITIES AS WELL AS WHISTLE BLOWERS AUSTRALIA.

    • marcellous Says:

      Good luck with that, but the GT has now been subsumed within a new super-tribunal.

    • wedgetailegal Says:

      GT may be part of the new super tribunal (NCAT) but they are still their own entity and accountable, .inter alia to the NSW Attorney General.

    • Heartsore and disgusted Says:

      Would you please provide me with more details of the complaints you have seen and where they have been recorded. I would like to know if the Minister is doing anything about it and if further complaints can be forwarded to him or to the organisations referred to in your post.

      I detect a little scepticism from Marcellous as to the effectiveness of these complaints but at some point, sooner or later, something must happen to bring these matters to the public interest.

      As I said in my earlier posts, unless you walk in our shoes, the abuses of human rights and draconian measures that families are subjected to at the hands of these entities, the stories will continue to appear unbelieveable to the uninformed.

      The sad reality is that if there were rules of evidence in the Tribunals and if the hearings were conducted by suitably qualified and competent panel members, then the Tribunals and the Public Trustee & Guardian would not perform their duties in such a substandard and unfair manner nor would they be free to continue in this vein with such impunity. Thirty years is a long time for complaints to be made with no useful reforms in place. The usual channels including the Law Reform Commission have yet to achieve a positive outcome – perhaps it is now time for a huge public outcry and people power – nothing else seems to work. Their powers are so wide and far reaching that it is not surprising that the abuses remain under the radar and the victims are left with no useful means of redress. This is a national disgrace and the Guardianship Act must be reformed to provide protection and legal enforceability to those unfortunate to come under its control.

  53. wedgetailegal Says:

    A ‘PS’ to all disenfranchised vulnerable individuals and familes – if you intend to appeal a GT decision, please go to the Supreme Court – don’t appeal a tribunal in a tribunal, it is a recipe for more grief.
    And get experienced legal reps who have done this before, it’s not a job for an all rounder (with no disrespect to suburban solicitors and barristers).

    • marcellous Says:

      I’m letting that comment through but want to make clear it is WTE’s opinion and advice, not mine.

      • wedgetailegal Says:

        Thanks to Marcellous for allowing this reply.
        I should have added (and forgot to) that at least there are rules of evidence in the Supreme Court.
        Recently had occasion to phone GT to chase up some Reasons, put on hold and the music on hold was ‘Ave Maria’. Never a more suitable piece of music – ‘say your prayers before you enter this portal’ ;)

    • Heartsore and disgusted Says:

      You can only go to the Supreme Court on “errors of law” or “merit”.
      Both of which are very stringent requirements and very few pass muster because of this.

      Equally, few barristers or lawyers choose to take on these matters because (a) there is no money in it and (b) because Tribunals do not operate as Courts and the general consensus is that you will lose anyway. You are in fact at the mercy of panel members who usually have a preconceived view in their minds which essentially means that they put almost everyone under guardianship. And you are there lock stock and barrel for the rest of your days.

      To date, we have spent two years fighting and more than $20,000 on legal fees going through the process and now to the ADT and still our mother is held prisoner with no valid reason – it is just because they can. The PG pays themselves from mother’s funds and we have to face almost bankruptcy fighting for her right to live the way she wants and in her own home.

      Law has rarely been about justice – news reports across the board prove that. Australia’s indigenous people had the “stolen generation” but Australian citizens still have that scenario just under a different name and time – its called Guardianship.

  54. Leica Says:

    I would like a complant

  55. John Srotyr Says:

    Is anyone able to recommend a firm of solicitors in Sydney experienced in litigation relating to powers of attorney (POA) in the Supreme Court and also preferably, in Company law.

    Having read some of the posts above, it seems that it would be preferable to instigate proceedings relating to a POA issue in the Supreme Court rather than the Guardianship tibunal (or whatever it is now called) if I can possibly afford it.

    I live in England and have enduring POA and guardianship in relation to my elderly mother who lives in a nursing home in Sydney and who has become cognitively impaired. I am her only son and we get on well. Shortly before my father died, he arranged for my mother to make another enduring POA in favour of a local accountant. At first I didn’t think this would be a problem as the accountant was on hand to deal with financial matters, the signing of documents etc. However, 6 years has now elapsed and the accountant has failed to provide any accounts or information relating to my mother’s affairs despite being requested to do so by me and subsequently, my accountants , on several occasions.

    Obviously there is a lot of history to this which I won’t bore you with but I would mention that that the accountant removed me as company director from our family company and made himself Managing Director and Secretary. Needless to say, he has also failed to give any information about the company’s financial position and becomes enraged when requested to do so. I am still a shareholder in the company.

    I feel that there is a good argument for issuing proceedings in the SC rather than the Guardianship tribunal because of the added complication of the company and, in event, it seems that the Guardianship Tribunal has a habit of simply appointing the Public Trustee when in doubt, rather than looking into the evidence.

    Any recommendations/ thoughts would be gratefully received.

    • marcellous Says:

      I don’t give advice here and nor really would it be appropriate for anyone else to do so, other than to say (which I don’t think counts as legal advice really) that yes, you need to find a solicitor.

    • guardianshipreform Says:

      If you require a contact name for a lawyer regarding your case I am happy to provide it. Your lawyer will need to be aware of how the Tribunal works (because that is where you need to go for your POA issue ) and corporate law for your business matters. I have used this solicitor for my matter in both jurisdictions each of which
      will be very costly. I have hopes for the corporate matter but none
      for the PT&G issue as families rarely win. In any event, as Marcellous says, you need to go to a lawyer for legal advice and
      guidance. I am happy for Marcellous to provide you with my e-mail
      details.

      Heartsore & Disgusted

      • John Srotyr Says:

        Thank you. That would be very useful. I have received the names of 3 firms that apparently deal with these types of issues from the NSW Law Society’s referral system but you never really know how much experience people have. I have every sympathy with your situation and with that of other people posting here. I live in England and was hoping to issue proceedings in the Guardianship Tribunal but now feel that I should steer clear of becoming involved with them. I am astounded at what I have read here.

  56. linda Says:

    Can you help me the hospital are going to tribunal so that i cant take my mum home and they want to send her to a nursing home. Please i need help

    • guardianshipreform Says:

      Linda,

      My mother was living with my brother who has looked after her all his life. My brother and I thought she had a chest infection and as a precaution took her to hospital. She was due for discharge after one week. The Public Guardian used this as an opportunity to remove her from us and place her in a nursing home. She was
      detained in the hospital for 2 months against the hospital’s recommendation and against our wishes. They then found and placed her in a nursing home (without consulting us) and she has been there now for 7 months. It has broken her spirit and her heart not to mention ours. The reason they did this was so they would not have to deal with the family and took the easy way out – as they do as a matter of course. We have been battling their incompetence for 3 years now.

      We took the PT&G to the ADT in June and we have been told that it will be 3-6 months before we get a Decision. At 94 years of age,
      time is a factor and a luxury our mother does not have. We had the best legal counsel available and if we were in a Court which relies on rules of evidence, we would never have found ourselves in this circumstance in the first place. Unfortunately, Guardianship Tribunals are a very poor substitute for a Court of Law and outcomes are usually pre ordained – the family rarely wins.

      Despite the horrific expense, we still chose to legally challenge the
      PT&G because, in good conscience, we could not leave any stone unturned. We have tried our very best for mother but the system is against us. Until we receive the formal Decision, we live in hope.

      In retrospect we should have just relied on the services of an after-hours doctor and dealt with the chest infection at home.
      No one at any time has ever questioned the excellent care mother received at home so that was not the issue. We came before the Tribunal because of a mentally unstable sibling who has
      undermined everything we try to do for our mother.

      People go to Court because of conflict and the Court deals with the evidence and adjudicates on that basis. The Tribunals do not rely on evidence, provide substandard presiding members at the hearing and have no interest in arriving at the truth or are capable of doing so. The Guardianship Tribunal almost always defaults to the PT&G – it is a Clayton’s legal process. The pathological liar, cheat and seasoned manipulator usually comes out on top simply because the rules of evidence are not relied upon to get to the truth.

      My advice is that you go to a lawyer immediately. Hospitals are just as bad as the Tribunals – it is a public service system gone mad. If you are the person responsible for your mother’s care, then the hospital, without due cause, cannot put your mother in a nursing home. These organisations know all the ropes – you don’t.
      Go to a good lawyer and I wish you good luck.

      Heartsore & Disgusted

      • jillofalinda Says:

        Thanks heartsore
        the stories just get more and more heartbreaking, seems a case of a lose lose situation. If only i could afford a lawyer.
        jillofalinda

    • June Walker Says:

      Dear Linda,

      I unintentionally added an ‘s’ to the end of guardianshipreform in the email address I provided in provided in my initial response to your call for help.

      The correct address is guardianshipreform@beagle.com.au

      June Walker

  57. Sally Nesbitt Says:

    Get a lawyer immediately.

  58. June Walker Says:

    Dear Linda,

    I am working with a group of people in NSW who have been hurt by the NSW Guardianship Tribunal and we are working towards having much needed reforms made to Guardianship laws in Australia.

    If you want to contact people who have been or are currently in your position, please send your details to the following email address guardianshipreforms@beagle.com.au and we will contact you.

    June Walker

  59. Paul Says:

    Hi Linda, I’m so sorry to hear that this is happening to another family. Thank you for being brave enough, to ask for help publicly. My mother, two brothers and I, have fought this system for five years. The outcome so far, is that my two sisters have sided with the Guardianship Tribunal, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and the NSW Public Trustee & Guardian, to keep our Mum institutionalised in a Nursing Home.

    I still do not understand how all of this process works, but once “they” get a hold of your situation, from our experience, it’s game over, no matter how long you fight them.
    Generally, “they” have kept Sandy (my Mum), incarcerated for this period, so that a ‘daily accommodation charge’, generated an unpaid fee of over $60,000.
    This gave “them” the opportunity, to force the sale of Sandy’s home, which I live in, even though “they” had decided to sell Sandy’s home, back in early 2010.
    Mum desperately wants to return home, and is overwhelmingly depressed, about how this nightmare is so real. But “they” have only allowed her a two week holiday at home, and that was about two years ago. I am being forcefully evicted from Sandy’s house, and the NSW T&G, want to decide what to do with all of her possessions. Obviously, “They” never want her to return home.

    Yes our plight also started at the Public Hospital, in the Mental Ward, when a female social worker pressed that the Public Guardianship step in. I went along with it at the time, as it seemed the sensible thing to do. Little did I know, that “they” play nice at first, but once you start to go against “their” decisions, then you’ll find out all about the power, that the NSW government has, to rule and reign over “their” clients life.

    I believe that someday, someone will figure out how to checkmate these monsters, so that nobody else can be caught, in “their” cruel net of utter destruction.
    I have created a website, to warn others of the impending danger, at FreeSandy.com.au

  60. jillofalinda Says:

    Marcellous

    can you please help and advise me i have no idea what to do or expect.

    I have been caring for my mum for last 9yrs, she had dementia. At the moment she is being held hostage in hospital after she had suffered a fall. The hospital refuses to let her come home to me and are keeping her till placement comes at nursing home. They keep saying she needs 24hr care which i have given her for 9yrs. They are now going over my head and taking it to the tribunal, i to have applied for guardianship. From all i have been reading it sounds like doom n gloom for me and have no chance going up against professionals whom have collected false information about me.
    Hope you can help thanks

  61. guardianshipreform Says:

    This message is for John Srotyn.

    The details of firm of solicitors I use are:-

    Mr. Hamnish Esplin
    Esplins Solicitors
    Level 7, 16 O’Connell Street
    Sydney NSXW 2002
    Tel: (61) (02) 9251 3999
    Email:esplaw@esplins.com.au

    This information is given with the approval of my soliciors.

    I hope that they can assist you.

    Heartsore & Disgusted

  62. Kevin Weight Says:

    WHAT A DISGRACE THIS STATE DEPARTMENT IS.
    THEY ARE OUR SERVANTS ,WE ARE NOT THEIRS,THEY ARE PAID BY US ,THEY DO NOT PAY THEMSELVES.

  63. June Walker Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Without identifying the person or persons concerned, please tell us your story so it can be added it to the list of thousands of ignored complaints that have been made regarding these ‘unmonitored and unaccountable’ regimes over the last three decades..

    J Walker

  64. Kevin Weight Says:

    THE NSW GUARDIAN AND TRUSTEE AS WELL AS THE NSW GUARDIANSHIP TRIBUNAL HAS THE HIDE TO ADVERTISE AGAIN TO RIP OFF THE ELDERLY.

    ON SATURDAY 2/5/2015 AN ADVERTISEMENT WAS AIRED BY SEVEN DIGITAL,IT RELATED TO PLANNING AHEAD TOOLS ON THE NET.. THIS AD APPEARED AT 5.40 PM.

    THEY ALSO HAVE A NEW CEO,AND HAVE CHANGED THEIR NAMES SLIGHTLY,AS IF WE DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE!

    HOW CAN NETWORK SEVEN ADVERTISE FOR THESE STATE DEPARTMENTS RIPPING OFF THE ELDERLY!

    THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA SHOULD HAVE THE FINAL SAY ON THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF THIS COUNTRY AND ALSO THE POLITITIONS AND SENIOR PUBLIC SERVANTS!

    • marcellous Says:

      Kevin, how do you propose the people of Australia should have the final say other than on the basis of a system which I cannot see as being that much different from the present – ie, there is some kind of say on the Govt/parliament (elections of some sort) and then the Govt and the parliament then have some kind of say on the judicial system and the public service?

  65. Kevin Weight Says:

    MARCELLOUS DO NOT BE A KNOCKER,AT LEAST I AM DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

    I MAY BE RIGHT OR WRONG,IF NO BODY DOES ANY THING THE PUBLIC WILL BE RIPPED OFF AND WALKED ALL OVER.

    I BELONG TO WHISTLE BLOWERS AUSTRALIA,AND THE MATTER HAS BEEN REPORTED TO THE I.C.A.C. WHOM DO YOU BELONG TO AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?.

    • marcellous Says:

      Fair enough, K. I suppose I think that the people already do have a say, in an attenuated kind of way (because they read the Murdoch press and watch commercial TV and because it is all filtered through the funny voting rules that we have etc etc) but maybe they really don’t care very much about this issue to make it change their vote when they are more worried about keeping boat people out, taxes down, keeping big ticket sports events on free to air TV, etc etc.

  66. June Walker Says:

    To Kevin Weight, there are people who have been and are still trying to have the government address all of the issues raised in this blog and as there is strength in numbers, we need people who are prepared to tell their stories to contact us. I am not a member of ‘Whistle Blowers Australia’ however; I have been blowing the whistle via many means for 20 years to no avail.
    For your interest, as a result of a Four Corners story on the abuse of people with disabilities in a care facility in Victoria which was followed by a Change Org Petition, the Senates Community Affairs Committee will be conducting an Inquiry into “Violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability”.
    As Guardianship tribunals are meant to ‘protect people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation’ and this is known as a ‘hidden crime’ which the victim may not be aware has occurred, I contacted the inquiry person to ascertain if the following issues would be relevant to this inquiry, (a) The suitability of having unmonitored and unaccountable Guardianship Tribunal decision makers who are not bound by the rules of evidence and don’t have the jurisdiction to determine whether wrongdoing occurred prior to hearings, making legal decisions which can result in a person with an intellectual disability losing their basic human rights in the best interest of hidden or other financial predators (b) The lack of effective safeguards in Guardianship Tribunal legislation to protect people with disabilities from neglect, abuse and exploitation and (c) The misuse of these Tribunals by financial predators.
    The response was “those issues are relevant to the inquiry and would be important issues to raise’ however there was a proviso added which I won’t expose on this forum.
    Submissions close on the 29th of May. You can contact me on walkjr@hotmail.com.

  67. Mira Mikulic Says:

    While not having problems with the Public Guardian, this is my experience with the Public Trustee. I’ll be happy to participate in a Royal Commission against this organisation:

    Having looked after my widowed and elderly mum for nearly 20 years and providing her with financial, physical and emotional support, my mum chose to leave most of estate, that I helped her to build, to overseas family. Without my knowledge, she appointed the Public Trustee to administer this estate.

    Foolishly and due to my strong sense of loyalty and compassion for my mum, I always placed her and her needs first and acted in her best interest, to my own detriment. Being under the impression that I would eventually reap the rewards of my efforts from her estate. Her will and a spiteful letter she left me opened my eyes to how she and my family appreciated these efforts on her behalf. I was almost written out of her will, close to being 50 years of age. I suddenly faced everything I worked for over the past 20 years about to be given to people who did very little for mum, including my sister that claimed to be very close to her. I had a choice to walk away with this nothing or to fight for a better share of the estate.

    I chose the latter and hired Turnbull Hill Partners to represent me in the Family Court. They immediately arranged a caveat on the estate and informed the Public Trustee that I intended to contest mum’s will. Thus began 3 years of personal hell with the Public Trustee, my family and various authorities. I informed the Public Trustee soon after mum’s death that I was the only one caring for mum and building her estate and had detailed proof of this. I offered the relevant family members more just and generous settlements that they, driven by greed, chose to decline. From here on, the Public Trustee, my sister and my family went into a life and death mode to hang on to mum’s estate, in this manner:

    • When I asked them to change the locks on mum’s house due to my sister’s looting the estate, they did so and locked ME out. Allowing my sister to keep on looting

    • They were happy for my sister having taken mum’s expensive TV, without my permission. Yet they insisted on my giving them less money I collected for selling some of her things, with their permission.

    • They took away whatever was left in the three bedrooms, fully furnished house and valuable garage and gardening tools. Inspite of repeated requests by me, I was never informed of where her things went. They did, however, present the estate with a bill of $300 for the LOSSES that this action incurred

    • Even though there were developers willing to pay $1mil for her property at the time of her death, the Public Trustee refused to release it for sale for 8 months

    • Being the public servants that they are, they happily paid huge water rates on an unoccupied property having a burst pipe. Disconnecting the water obviously never occurred to anyone. Neither did keeping the garden net and tidy, again inspite of my repeated requests

    • Some time before mum’s death, I bought a car to be able to drive her and her dog to shopping and various doctors. To save paying yearly registration, mum suggested I keep the car in her name. When this came to the attention to the Public Trustee, they offered me to BUY MY car that I already bought with my own money from her estate for $3000! As it wasn’t worth it for me, I was required to surrender it for them to sell. Some of my friends offered to pay $1500 for it. The Public Trustee didn’t agree and sold it for $700!

    • They left the best for last, i.e. mum’s house that I helped her to buy, take care of and grow in value. Aside for providing a beautiful home for her that I took care of on weekly basis while my sister was always “too busy”, building her own career and assets. Allowing themselves to be heavily manipulated by my sister and family, the Public Trustee finally put up the house for sale after 8 months when its value dropped by almost half. Observing this behavior, I was advised to try and buy it from the Public Trustee, if I was to get anything from the estate

    • The Public Trustee organised an auction at long last and consistently refused to let me know the reserve price. I organised a loan and a friend to do the bidding on my behalf because I didn’t want to bid amongst the vultures that had gathered at the house for the kill. As soon as the auction started, it became obvious that games were being played and the Public Trustee had no intention of selling the property. Unfortunately for them, my sister and family, I and another person were determined to get it and fought it out amongst ourselves. I was the first one to reach the reserve price, set at $100K above the then market value! To everyone’s consternation, I ended up with the property and took on a huge financial burden for the next 7 years until I sold it

    • With this purchase, karma immediately set into action for everyone involved. In their blind greed and fight for the estate, I, my sister and other family members were required to present claims and financial situation to the Family Court. The presiding judge was no fool and saw matters exactly for what they were. Because of that and due to the dire financial situation that my family and the Public Trustee thrust me into, he awarded ME most of the estate. Family members received token amounts that were nowhere near what I offered them at the time of mum’s death. My sister received some amount, simply for being mum’s daughter. Never contributing anything to mum’s estate or supporting either parents or me in any way.

    My mum’s decision cost us $80, 0000 in legal costs. It completely destroyed our family that both my sister and I exited at the completion of the court case. All mum’s friends that had their wills with the Public Trustee changed them after witnessing the handling of mum’s estate. 10 years later, I’m now starting to recover from this experience and would NEVER recommend anyone leaving their will with the State/Public Trustee. Here’s some advice that will hopefully help you to avoid similar experiences:

    • TALK to your family, friends and above all a solicitor handling estates about the State/Public Trustee

    • SEARCH the internet for other complaints about this organisation

    • BELIEVE all that you’ll hear/read

    • DON’T get sucked in by the promise of a free will, it will cost your family dearly. DO ask for EXACT costs of all of their services. You’ll soon see that they are much higher than elsewhere

    • DO remember that these people are PUBLIC SERVANTS and that your beneficiaries won’t be able to get help anywhere, should they encounter problems with the Public Trustee. Do you really want them to go through what our family went through?

    • If you are ever unfortunate to have any dealings with the Public Trustee, DO start selling or taking whatever you can out of the estate BEFORE they take possession of it. They’ll take their time in doing so, best to sell/divide whatever you can before they take over. Unless specified in the will, be prepared to be offered PURCHASING items from the estate, at inflated prices

    • If you are already having problems with this organisation, contact your local MP for help. Also the Attorney General in your state. The media is another option. Last but not least, do try to organise a Royal Commission into the workings of this disgusting and harmful organisation. I’d be happy to contribute my evidence

    Most of all, save yourself and your family soul destroying problems and STAY AWAY from the Public Trustee. DO make a precise will through a solicitor and a trusted public servant such as your doctor, etc. Best to leave all family members out of the execution of your estate and let them enjoy their inheritance.

    • marcellous Says:

      The judgment of Associate Justice Macready in Mira’s case (which as far as I can make out resulted in bequests of $200K to Slovakian relatives being set aside or substantially reduced and her mother’s estate being split 60:40 between Mira and her sister respectively) can be read here.

      • Mira Mikulic Says:

        Marcellous, the article quoted here by you contains a whole lot of inaccuracies. It does, however, document this whole fiasco, orchestrated by my mum and sister. I would not wish it onto anyone and hence my warning about the Public Trustee. Best to stay away from this organisation! I’m keen to testify at any public enquiry or a Royal Commission when the time comes.

      • marcellous Says:

        Mira, to be frank what the judge seems to have decided is not quite the impression you gave in your first comment, though certainly it appears that the gift to the Slovakian relatives was replaced with a bequest where you got the greater share (though not all) of the remaining estate. It may well be that Associate Justice Macready’s judgment otherwise contains a lot of inaccuracies because as I am sure we both know judges often get details wrong and the rules of evidence restrict what information is before them in the first place.

        In your case, it seems to me that only a part of your troubles can be ascribed to the actions of the Trustee, and rather a lot can be ascribed to the decision of your mother to leave such a will as she did. If you didn’t get on with your sister then I doubt if things would have been much better even if some other person had been appointed executor, once your mother had made the will that she made. In my experience, if it only cost your family $80K in legal costs you all got out of it relatively lightly – though I am sure that is pretty cold comfort for you.

      • Mira Mikulic Says:

        I do agree that all the problems started with my mum’s decision, which was heavily influenced by my sister.

        I do not agree that the Public Trustee didn’t cause us any problems and that what I described above was in any way professional handling of her estate. Due to their refusal to listen to any of my wishes, they caused me great financial hardship for three years of the court proceedings, as they do to so many other people. Hoping the stress of my situation would make me drop my claim against her estate. Having nothing more to lose, I could only gain in disputing the will in Family Court.

        As a result of mum’s will and the Public Trustee’s actions, we all fronted the Family Court as described in the ruling, i.e. having taken care of my mum and not being provided for in her will, I was in a very dire financial situation. My sister on the other hand, not having supported mum or any member of our family in any way while building her own career and assets, presented to Family Court in a very good financial situation. She also wasn’t able to provide any evidence of ever having taken care of mum in any way and tried to pass on false affidavits which were dismissed even before the hearing started.

        Yes, the judge heard it all from my sister and the family as they presented their claims on the estate and attempts to show how they helped mum! I was the only one that took care of all mum’s affairs and kept all evidence, as well as hundreds of photographs of me and mum together. I therefore satisfied the legal requirements of the Family Court in disputing mum’s will. The judge, according to the law, redressed the balance of the will and provided for me from her estate that I fully helped her to acquire. Very sad to know that my selfish and ungrateful mum would not do so for her own child that dedicated her life to her.

        And yes, I also agree that inspite of the $80 000 that this lawsuit cost us, we did get off lightly. Please see other horror stories about what other people lost through their dealings with the Public Trustee, especially through their Guardianship!

  68. shewie01 Says:

    Hi, I’m very nervous as this Thursday will be attending Tribunal with my 18 year old daughter in an effort to withdraw application for her to be appointed a Public Guardian. Several months ago I applied due to her dangerously low weight with anorexia and refusal for treatment. However she managed to get herself well once she knew she may be forced to hospital. Getting herself to eat more was very emotional and she would get angry and the whole time with anorexia and then putting on weight was sometimes more than I felt i could cope with. Unwittingly i relayed in an email to the GT about some of her aggressive behaviour when she was trying to get better but stay away from drs. Now she us so well, we are living a peaceful life, she’s finishing her hsc and the GT insist we go to hearing and dredge up the past and have included this email i sent in the documents and my daughter will read what I wrote. I tried to call and say how counterproductive this is now. They appointed a legal aid lady for my daughter do that I’m basically out of the conversation, feel like I’m treated like the enemy and terrified of what is going to be said and happen on a Thursday. The legal aid lady. Days she can see straight through my “rocky” family history from the files, that i dont have my priorities right by worrying about how my daughter can focus in her hsc now, and that if she gets upset and runs away from me because of the email, I can call the police to find her. I said cant we avoid anything like that? I thought GT would be a help, a last resort because she was so sick. We are ok now without them. They do treat me like a nuisance and even said my own anxiety has obviously rubbed off on my daughter and thats why she has problems. I try to tell them my anxiety is about going through this process which looks to be doing more harm than good for my family.

    • Max Watts Says:

      Hi shewie01

      From our experiences with the Tribunal June Walker’s comments and advice are 100% correct. Most definitely do not go on your own.

      Also please feel to contact me (Max Watts) if I can be of any help.
      My email is maxandmareea@hotmail.com

  69. June Walker Says:

    Hi Shewie01,

    You are not the only one to be put through this unnecessary trauma by this Tribunal. Please don’t go to any hearing alone.Take a witness.

    If you would like to contact me I may be able to help in some way my email address is walkjr@hotmail.com and my name is June. Walker

  70. June Walker Says:

    Dear Marcellous, would it be possible for you to make the contributors to this colum aware that the NSW Law Reform Commission is currently conducting a Review of the NSW Guardianship Act of 1987 and they are asking for submissions by around 20th March 2016.

    I would also like to contact Catherine who posted a story on June 29th 2013. could you please let me know if this is possible.

  71. Not happy Says:

    Hi June and thanks for letting us know. I too have lots to say to the Commission about how these bastards handled my mum’s estate and have all evidence. Where do I go? I’ll email you privately in the first instance as I definitely want to participate. Thanks for your help!

    • marcellous Says:

      Terms of reference here: not clear that they will deal with complaints you may have about the Guardian or the Public Trustee – it’s about the legislation rather than the bodies that administer it.

      • June Walker Says:

        Thank you for posting that Marcellous. I contacted Catherine. Re terms of reference. Not complaining. Just reporting re UNCRPD No safeguards, no monitoring of Tribunal, it not being the role of the Trinunal to determine the truth of allegations before it, quasi legal process facilitates misuse etc. have irrefutable. Nothing ventured nothing gained. One day some will listen.

        Thanks for your help.

  72. Annie Carat Says:

    Reading all of these comments has made me extremely nervous! I am attending a Tribunal review of my grandfather’s appointed Enduring PoA next week in N.S.W.
    The current PoA has had ongoing financial difficulties (business went into liquidation) and had my grandfather sign a new PoA while his wife was in palliative care – making her sole PoA and my grandfather vulnerable to financial abuse – obviously we want this reviewed and a new PoA with another family member appointed.

    Has anything changed over the years since this post or am I walking into disappointment??

  73. guardianshipreform Says:

    Annie,
    I am a little late in reading this post but I would be surprised if the Tribunal does anything other than to set the PoA aside, put the grandfather under plenary guardianship and do nothing about the financial abuser. They do not care who is right or wrong, they do not rely on any evidence and they are interested only in expediting the matter. You will now begin your nightmare journey with inept public servants and a broken and abused Guardianship Act. I hope I am wrong, I hope that things have changed but in relation to guardianship matters, my hope for good outcomes is sadly misplaced.

    It seems to me that you too, like so many who have gone before you with similar complaints, have been lured in by the propaganda that the Tribunal and its cohorts expound at every turn. You will get no justice, competence or due diligence.

    Heartsore & Disgusted.

  74. Beverly Priest Says:

    Hello my mother is in aged care facility against her will and if her doctor will give the tribunal a medical report she has a good chance of going home at next tribunal review but her doctor will not give a medical report because of a family dispute (which there Is none) if he wont give medical report who else can I get at short notice because the review is in less than one week. The tribunal gave me the fax number so it can get there straight away but I don’t know who to get.

    • Doot777 Says:

      Beverly…your most welcome to contact me via the CONTACT tab on my website, at NSWTGEXPOSED.COM.AU

      http://nswtgexposed.com.au/

      I’ve been fighting for my mother’s (and my) rights (& the rights of all involved with Trustee and Guardianship stupidity worldwide)…exposing the horrendous & barbaric behaviours imposed upon the innocent victims.

  75. bl4cksynt4x Says:

    Hey, guys. Found this thread today, and God am I terrified.

    I’m a 21 year old girl who inherited roughly $600,000 from a relative in France. I was under 18 at the time, so I was placed under the care of the NSWTG by my grandmother, who has no care for me (I’m black and she’s racist) and is adamant that I have little access to my monies.

    Irrespective of this, the NSWTG is difficult, they rarely answer calls and my emails are never replied to. They’re idiots, of course, but why am I paying them $40,000 a year to be idiots with my money?

    Anyway, I’m planning to go to the Supreme Court with these fools. It’s been way too long, they deal me out my own money as if I were to live as a peasant and I’ve had enough. They told me I would have to provide evidence of “capacity”; what does this mean, and how do I obtain it? It seems to be a very loose and empty criteria, but I’ll keep my hopes up.

    Effectively, I have little access to my money and I’m trapped in this God forsaken country because they won’t allow me to leave (I have dual citizenship with France, I want to go home).

    Thoughts? Advice?

    Thanks, guys!

    • marcellous Says:

      There must be more to it if you are 21 and the Trustee is still controlling your money.

      • bl4cksynt4x Says:

        There really isn’t. I have no family other than my grandmother, and she did this to me.

    • guardianshipreform Says:

      No one can answer your question without full details of the matter and no one is appropriate to receive this information other than a lawyer who may act on your behalf.

      I agree with Marcellous that there must be more to it since you are 21 and an adult but I do not have the open mind and indulgence of Marcellous as to the operations of the guardianship regime as perhaps he does. First hand experience has caused me to think (and know) otherwise.

      I am not saying that a lawyer can help you get away from guardianship because hardly anyone ever does but at least he/she will be able to guide you as to whether applying to the Supreme Court is the way to go. “Grandmother” does not always mean kindly and honest and young 21 year old does not always mean sensible and practical.

      Whatever the circumstance, you need to get legal advice from
      a practitioner well versed in this particular area of law. If you are deemed to be medically sound and have family to go back to in France then documentary evidence in this regard may help.

      You require legal expertise as to the legal avenues available to you.
      Regretfully, I do not believe the ADT, AAT will do anything other than uphold the guardianship order – they are not a judiciary but an second rate administrative tool in this whole ugly guardianship regime.

      Also, the greedy Public Trustee will never let go of a high end estate if they can get away with it – they need the fees to boost the coffers of their organisation since they are a commercial arm of the government. More money in the pot means more security for their existence. Competency and due care has nothing to do with it.

      Perhaps this is not what you want to hear but unfortunately this is the stark reality of guardianship matters. Despite this, don’t give up, keep fighting and try to find the legal assistance you require.

      Heartsore and Disgusted

  76. June Walker Says:

    People who lack capacity are usually people who have dementia, althimers disease, brain damage via accidents, drug, alchahol addiction, strokes or possibly mental illnesses.

    Then again a lot of people who have full capacity can’t manage their financial affairs as they fall victim to scammers or live beyond their means gamble etc. and this group includes professionals.

    You will need to prove you have the mental capacity to manage your own money. That means you will need to see a medical professional who is qualified to determine whether or not you are capable of doing this.

    They will do a mini mental test and possibly other tests to determine this. They will ask you questions ie. Your name, date of birth, who is the prime minister, whatever month it is and possibly ask you to spell words backwards which most people with capacity have difficulty doing.

    It would be a good idea to get two opinions. It sounds like you will need to get more of your money from the trustee to pay for this.

    You can also appeal via the Administrative Appeals Tribunal but get legal advice and don’t represent yourself.

    I hope this helps.

    June Walker.

    Walkjr@hotmail.com

    Sorry Marcellous, I couldn’t reply above the line.

  77. Not happy Says:

    To the French girl above. Please contact Turnbull Hill Lawyers on 1800 994 279 or 02 4904 8000 asap. They SUCCESSFULLY helped me to get money out of the Public trustee and have a wealth of experience in dealing with this disgusting organisation! Good luck with your case, you’ll need it and all the help you can get.

  78. Stephen B[redacted] Says:

    I took my case to the NSW Guardianship Tribunal with respect to my mother who has Alzheimer’s.
    She is effectively under the control of my brother who has moved into her home by force some years back because he had financial problems.
    Her GP describes her as living example of the “Stockholm Syndrome”
    He is an abuser of vulnerable women, and has had Court cases and AVOs against him as well as a Police file.
    He got a dodgy solicitor to give him P of A and Guardianship over my mother, despite the fact that I showed that solicitor recent medical reports, indicating she has Alzheimer’s.
    The Solicitor didn’t care – they said as long as she can say what month it is, who is the Prime Minister, where she lives and who her family is, they didn’t want to know.
    I am now locked out of my mother’s home by my brother and the reason is he got her to become terrified of me, because I will put her in a nursing home.
    When I took the matter to the Guardianship Tribunal I tried to get a Public Guardian so as everything can be seen to be done in a NEUTRAL fashion. I offered evidence about my brother not being a suitable guardian due to his Police files. Court cases etc. They positively discouraged me from giving such evidence to them as they claimed they are NOT AN INVESTIGATIVE BODY.
    I went to the hearing giving them ample medical evidence from Specialist Doctors and Stat Dec’s of Police reports and court case background.
    The Panel didn’t bother to read most of the evidence, they didn’t contact my mother’s doctors, they talked to my mother like she was a normal person – BUT people such as her with her serious condition can only do “parrot like phrases” which seem OK until you question them a bit more about what they really mean or what they can do in reality.
    They accepted all of my brother’s lies, and the letters from his “dodgy” solicitor.
    In short they dismissed the case, and washed their hands of what was happening to an 89 year old lady, in the grip of ELDER ABUSE.

    The final chapter will come out when her Will has to be contested.

    A word of advice about the GT they are useless and don’t even contemplate that you will receive a fair hearing there.

  79. guardianshipreform Says:

    Everything Stephen B has recounted regarding the Guardianship Tribunal is true. The sad fact is that no one other than genuine family members and supporters care about disabled people and
    there is no effective legal avenue to help them when abuses occur.
    Clearly, they are not cute, green or exotic enough to warrant the coverage as is given to others in the public interest.

    One would have to be an amoeba not to be aware of the human rights abuses perpetuated under Australia’s guardianship regime. The Government is aware of it, the Law Reform Commission is aware of it, politicians are aware of it and none of them do anything to stop it. Wilful blindness is alive and well because each of them has a self-serving agenda which blocks any useful reforms being legislated.

    The legal minds that crafted the Guardianship Act had no moral compass or conscience. They were fully aware that the far reaching powers granted to the Tribunals (and their cohorts) opened the doors for abuse. Later, when Australia became a signatory to the UNCRPD, they were also fully aware that by not legally enforcing the principles and guidelines of that instrument, it would simply become a paper victory for the victims of guardianship abuse and a perfect vehicle for the Guardianship Tribunal and its cohorts to continue their abuses with total impunity. Theory and practice are indeed worlds apart.

    Prof. M. Perlin, Oliver Lewis and many other brilliant legal minds worldwide have written numerous papers on the human rights abuses that are occurring because of deficiencies in Guardianship Acts which include the lack of effective safeguards and the lack of legal redress for the disabled and the lack of punishments for the abusers .The Australian Law Reform Commission, which is currently undertaking an Inquiry into the NSW Guardianship Act would be well advised to become familiar with them and act upon their recommendations. All the work has been done for them. It would save a lot of time, minimise the waste of government money and force our law makers and legislators to deal with the core issues instead of skirting around the periphery – seeming to do something when they are doing nothing at all.

    It took 30 years for the George Pells of the world and the Catholic Church to be taken to task – our draconian guardianship regime has gone on for longer than that. It is time that the voice of every victim suffering at the hands of the Guardianship Tribunal and its cohorts is finally heard because these human rights abuses have gone on for far too long. Disabled persons are human beings too and just as worthy as anyone else. Life may not have been kind to the disabled person because of their afflictions but the abuses they suffer under the guardianship regime, man’s inhumanity to man, is certainly preventable.

    It is a well know fact that there is no justice in the law and that goods and chattels take precedence over human life – well guardianship is about people and perhaps a Royal Commission Inquiry into the draconian guardianship laws might turn the tables just as it did with the Inquiry into the Catholic Church and its rotten apples.

    Heartsore & Disgusted

    • Stephen B Says:

      I also feel that families of abused elder Australians should all make complaints to their local member(s) of Parliament , Susan Ryan Age Discrimination Commissioner, President of N.C.A.T., Police Commissioner, Legal Services Commissioner. the media etc. I DID just that. Got no constructive response from any of them BECAUSE I WAS JUST ONE PERSON.
      I am sure if a stream of people started lodging complaints something would have to happen.
      Perhaps certain media outlets may be the best initial approach as politicians and their minders just want to SANITIZE everything.

      • guardianshipreform Says:

        Stephen B. Don’t waste your time – we have all tried but got the same response. Take heart from the recently published Senate Report. As a result of all the Submissions made to the Inquiry into Abuse Violence and Neglect against disabled persons, the Senate is recommending a Royal Commission and guardianship has come under fire – at last. There is hope yet and you can’t give up the fight. I knew it would be too late for my darling mum who died under horrific circumstances at the hands of the GT, PT&G but I made and will continue to make Submission to every Inquiry, and so have many others. That is the way to try and get some kind of justice and law reform – appealing to local members etc. as you outlined above will never get a result. Not one of them would jeopardise their careers to fight a cause that will not bring them any rewards or does not impact on them personally.
        Heartsore & Disgusted

  80. guardianshipreform Says:

    Your receipt of a non constructive response was not “because I was just one person”. Many before you have written and received the same platitudes. No public body of any persuasion is going to rock the boat because those in the corridors of power do not want to be put in a position where they have to act in response to “difficult” situations.

    I have read nearly every transcript of meetings and recommendations regarding guardianship matters including the most recent response to Inquiries, e.g IPART on Public Trustee’s fees, Standing Committee No. 3 on Elder Abuse
    and every Submission that has been made in the last 4 years and
    it is nauseating. The protagonists are all public bodies, university professors, medicos all feeding from the same trough. In almost every case, the meetings will have only one organisation or, rarely, an individual who will tell them like it really is. I am now awaiting the report of the Australian Law Reform Commission and that of the Senate regarding guardianship issues.

    The reason why we are helpless is because of –
    (a) the Guardianship Act is flawed and provides no safeguards

    [balance of comment seems to have been chopped off/lost in ether/not completed owing to IT issues – M]

  81. guardianshipreform Says:

    Dear Marcellous,

    Would you be kind enough to post this notice from the NSW Law Reform Commission advising of an open forum for private stakeholders who have an interest in guardianship law reforms.
    It may be a useful opportunity for the complainants to voice their concerns and have an impact on how the eventual recommendations of the Law Reform Commission are formulated.

    I still live in hope that our guardianship laws will be significantly reformed to reflect the words of Clarence Darrow, the famous human rights lawyer who said –

    “Laws should be made like clothes. They should be made to fit
    the people they are made for”.

    Substitute decision making should be entirely abolished. A new model of supports, which are on a totally voluntary and on a request/reject basis, be provided to those who need and ask for them. No government agency, service provider or anyone else, should “control” or “own” another human being in any way, shape or form. Many forms of support can be provided to do those in need without the draconian civil death that plenary guardianship imposes on society’s most vulnerable.

    The Guardianship Act should be thrown out and rewritten to incorporate and implement into domestic law the Principles and Guidelines of the UNCRPD.

    NCAT, and its cohorts, which are not fit for purpose, on many levels not least due to its systemic bias, should be closed down and replaced by a new totally independent Public Advocacy Commission as mandated by Article 12 of the UNCRPD and as clearly outlined by Michael J Perlin, Law Professor in his Abstract “Striking for the Guardians and Protectors of the Mind”: The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities and the Future of Guardianship Law – see page 1179.

    ——-

    Update from the NSW Law Reform Commission – April 2017
    Please share this update with friends, colleagues and constituents.

    Guardianship review – public consultations:

    Should a guardian be able to make decisions for someone else? Or should people be supported to make their own decisions?

    Tell us about your experiences with guardianship at our public consultations in Sydney on 30 May and in Parramatta on 1 June.

    For more information and to RSVP visit our website.
    NSW Law Reform Commission

    ——-

    Like our new Facebook page!
    We are now on Facebook. Follow us to get all the latest updates about our review of guardianship law and other projects as well as links to news items and events. Visit our page at http://www.facebook.com/NSWLawReform

  82. V Says:

    U don’t give your children to strangers when they are young and vonrable that’s stranger danger.. why should. U have to give your vonrable parents to strangers.. ” how can strangers make better decisions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: