Capacity for decision-making

Learn about what capacity for decision-making means and where to find guidelines for assessing decision-making capacity.

The Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 defines ‘capacity’ as:

  1. understanding the nature and effect of decisions about the matter; and
  2. freely and voluntarily making decisions about the matter; and
  3. communicating the decisions in some way.

A person may have capacity for some decision-making but not all depending on the complexity of the decision to be made and the support available to the Adult for decision-making from members of the adult’s existing support network.

The Queensland Government Guidelines for assessing decision-making capacity provide general information about capacity, capacity assessment and the legal tests of capacity in Queensland. They are relevant for Queensland’s guardianship legislation (the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 and Powers of Attorney Act 1998).

Help and FAQs

As part of an independent tribunal, QCAT registry staff cannot provide legal advice.

Registry staff can explain and answer questions about how QCAT works and its processes.

Registry staff cannot help with:

  • whether or not you should submit an applicationwhether your application is under the correct jurisdiction
  • if you should lodge an appeal or a counter-application* recommending a specific lawyer to assist you
  • how to word your application, supporting documents or what to say at a proceeding* contacting a QCAT member or adjudicator directly
  • predicting likely outcomes of a case or appeal
  • helping you to prepare your case
  • advising what orders/decisions you should seek
  • explaining what you should do to follow QCAT directions
  • enforcing an order or decision of the tribunal
  • advising exact timeframes for resolution of a matter – this depends on your individual matter.

QCAT staff cannot provide legal advice (see right hand side bar for more information).

All parties involved in a matter before QCAT must represent themselves. Whether you are represented or not you can still seek legal advice about your rights.

In some cases, a party is automatically able to be represented. QCAT will always agree to representation:

  • for a child or a person with impaired capacity, or
  • if the matter relates to disciplinary proceedings including a review of a disciplinary decision
  • if the enabling Act related to the matter allows it.

Read more >