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Interim orders

An interim order can be made by the tribunal if they decide an order is needed before a hearing can be held in an adult guardianship or administration matter.

Interim orders are made to protect an adult with impaired capacity from immediate risk of harm to their health, welfare or property because of the risk of abuse, exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.

Interim orders are not a tool to secure a faster hearing. They are for exceptional circumstances only. Even if an interim order is made, a tribunal hearing still needs to be scheduled to hear the application.

When will the tribunal make an interim order?

The tribunal must be satisfied there is some evidence of impaired decision-making capacity and the adult appears to be at immediate risk of harm. Harm can take many forms including financial, emotional, social, sexual or neglect.

How long do interim orders last?

The maximum period of an interim order is 3 months. The tribunal may renew the order under exceptional circumstances.

How do I apply for an interim order?

You must lodge with QCAT all of the following:

Is there a hearing for an interim order?

There is usually no hearing for an interim order. The tribunal makes a decision based on the information provided.

What happens after the application?

All parties are advised of the decision.

If an interim order is made, a hearing will be scheduled before the interim order expires.

If the interim order was not made, a hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible.

When an interim order may be made

Joe’s story

Joe is an elderly man with advanced dementia. His neighbours have observed him wandering the streets in a confused and dishevelled state. Joe often gives away large amounts of money to strangers. Following a fall, Joe was admitted to hospital.

The social worker was unable to contact any family members. His neighbours provided the social worker with Joe’s mail, which included overdue notices for insurance and utilities. The social worker made an application for the appointment of a guardian and administrator and an application for an interim order.

Based on the evidence provided, the Tribunal determined Joe was at immediate risk of harm. The tribunal appointed the Public Trustee as administrator and Public Guardian as guardian under an interim order. The applications for the appointment of a guardian and administrator were scheduled for a hearing before the interim order expired in 3 months.

Joan’s story

Joan is a 68-year-old from a non-English speaking background. Joan’s only son Greg applied to QCAT to be appointed as her administrator. He also applied for an interim order because of an immediate risk of financial harm.

Greg provided evidence that Joan was communicating online with ‘Fred’. Joan had transferred over $150,000 to Fred. She intended to transfer considerable funds in the next few days and was taking steps to sell her home and transfer the proceeds to Fred.

Greg provided information from Joan’s doctor which stated Joan had moderate dementia and was vulnerable to undue influence. Greg also provided evidence of professional investigators determining ‘Fred’ did not exist.

Despite the evidence, Joan was adamant she would soon relocate overseas to marry Fred.  The Tribunal made an interim order appointing Greg as temporary administrator for his mother. Greg was able to stop further international money transfers and protect Joan’s home.

The application for the appointment of an administrator was scheduled for a hearing before the expiry of the interim order in 3 months.

When an interim order may not be made

Betty’s story

Betty has a moderate level of dementia. Her husband, Leo, is finding it difficult to provide the care and support she needs.

There is no indication of abuse or neglect. The evidence suggests Leo is not sure how to arrange support services for Betty.

Betty receives an age pension and her only asset is the home she jointly owns with her husband. Betty has one child from a previous relationship, who has made an application for the appointment of a guardian and administrator, and an application for an interim order.

The tribunal determined Betty was not at immediate risk of harm and dismissed the interim order application. The application for the appointment of an administrator and a guardian was scheduled to be heard at a later date.

Descriptions of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website are general information only. They do not definitively describe the types of applications on which QCAT can make decisions. The relevant legislation determines QCAT's jurisdiction. If you are unsure about your legal rights, you should seek legal advice. Your individual circumstances should guide any actions taken to resolve your dispute.

When does an adult need help making decisions?

There are three elements to making a decision:

  • understanding the nature and effect of the decision;
  • freely and voluntarily making a decision; and
  • communicating the decision in some way.

If an adult needs to make a decision, and is unable to carry out any part of this process, they have impaired decision-making capacity.

Last reviewed
19 November 2015
Last updated
19 November 2015

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