Accessing documents

Find out who can access documents and how to arrange an inspection.

Who can see the documents provided to the Tribunal?

The Tribunal must conduct a fair hearing.  Access to documents is governed by section 103 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000.

Subject to any confidentiality order made by the Tribunal, access to documents in guardianship proceedings is permitted as follows:

  • Before the start of a hearing - an active party may access a document that the tribunal considers is relevant to an issue in the proceeding.
  • During a hearing - an active party may access a document or other information that the tribunal considers is credible, relevant and significant to an issue in the proceeding.
  • After a hearing - each active party in a proceeding or a person the tribunal considers has a sufficient interest in the proceeding, must be given a reasonable opportunity to access within a reasonable time after a hearing, a document that the tribunal considered credible, relevant and significant to an issue in the proceeding.

Access is provided by way of inspection or obtaining copies of the relevant documents.  A request to inspect or copy documents can be made by using QCAT's online form.

For more information, please see Practice Direction 4 of 2021  – Accessing and obtaining copies of documents in guardianship proceedings.

Who is an active party?

Each of the following persons is an active party:

  • the Adult (the person who the application is about);
  • if the Adult is not the applicant – the applicant;
  • if the proceeding is for the appointment or the reappointment of a guardian, administrator or attorney for the Adult – the person proposed for appointment or reappointment;
  • any current guardian, administrator or attorney for the Adult;
  • the Public Guardian;
  • the Public Trustee of Queensland;
  • a person joined as a party to the proceeding by the Tribunal.

In proceedings about restrictive practices, the active parties might also include:

  • the chief executive (disability services);
  • in particular circumstances, the Chief Psychiatrist;
  • in particular circumstances, the director of forensic disability;
  • a service provider providing disability services to the Adult.

What rights does an active party have?

Active parties may present their case at a hearing, inspect or copy documents, apply for leave (permission) to be represented.

I am not an active party.  What is my role and what can I do?

If you are not active party but have received correspondence from QCAT, it may be because you have been identified as a person who has a close and continuing relationship with the Adult.

You will also receive written "notice of hearing".  It may be that you choose to attend the hearing. However, the conduct of the hearing is in the discretion of the Tribunal. You may not play any active part in the hearing.

If you are not an active party, you are only entitled to access documents within a reasonable time after the hearing if you can demonstrate you have a sufficient interest in the proceeding. If your request is approved, access will be limited to those documents the tribunal considered credible, relevant and significant to an issue in the proceeding.

For more information, please see Practice Direction 4 of 2021  – Accessing and obtaining copies of documents in guardianship proceedings.

What is a confidentiality order?

A confidentiality order allows the Tribunal to withhold from an active party or other person a document, part of a document or other information that is before the Tribunal.

A confidentiality order may only be made if the Tribunal is satisfied that such an order is necessary to avoid serious harm or injustice to a person.

What happens if a confidentiality order is made before the hearing?

If a confidentiality order is made before the hearing, it will be vacated (cancelled) at the start of the hearing.  The Tribunal member conducting the hearing will decide whether a confidentiality order should be made. When considering whether to make a confidentiality order, the Tribunal must take into consideration the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness. The Tribunal member will do so based on the evidence and submissions before the Tribunal.  That may include written evidence and submissions but also the oral information provided at the hearing by those with standing to be heard in relation to the making of any such order.

How do I apply for a confidentiality order?

To apply for a confidentiality order you need to complete and file a Form 12 Application for Miscellaneous Matters.   The Tribunal may also make a confidentiality order on its own initiative.