Guardianship and management of property

The ALRC was required to inquire into the desirability of new laws and procedures in the ACT to provide for the guardianship and management of property of persons unable, wholly or in part, to manage their affairs or property.

A Discussion Paper Guardianship and Management of Property (ALRC DP 39) was released in 1989.

The final report (ALRC Report 52) considered the difference between management of property and guardianship and highlighted many procedural defects, which were expensive and insensitive, particularly in the application of guardians or managers of property.

The report found many substantive defects in the law as the Lunacy Act 1898 (NSW) was not comprehensive in its coverage and there was no mechanism for periodic review of orders or provisions. The ALRC concluded that legislative change was necessary.

Key recommendations

  • Management of property and guardianship in the ACT should be dealt with in new legislation, sensitive to the needs of disabled and incapacitated people.
  • Clear and flexible criteria and a flexible and informal procedure should be developed for the appointment of guardians and managers.
  • Specific provisions governing the right of guardians are required for consent to medical procedures.
  • A specialist tribunal should be established to deal with matters arising under the legislation, including granting guardianship or management orders, and powers for the tribunal to supervise guardians and managers.


The recommendations of the Commission have been implemented in the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 (ACT).