Hearings about the appointment of guardians are generally open to the public and information about proceedings can be published.
However information that identifies or is likely to identify the adult cannot be published unless QCAT approves this. QCAT will only do this in situations where it is satisfied that the publication of the adult’s identity is in the public interest or in the interests of the adult.
In some limited circumstances QCAT can make an order, known as a limitation order. There are different types of limitation orders.
- Confidentiality orders restrict access by another party to a relevant document or information.
- Non-publication orders prevent the publication of proceedings.
- Adult evidence orders obtain evidence from the adult without other parties present.
- Closure orders limit who may attend a hearing.
QCAT must be satisfied that the limitation order is necessary to:
- avoid harm or injustice to any of the parties
- obtain information that might not otherwise have been given in some specific cases.
Limitation orders are only approved in exceptional cases and anyone with a personal interest in the adult can apply for one. QCAT may also initiate a limitation order.
In most situations the tribunal will make a decision about an application for a limitation order at the hearing. This allows the tribunal to hear the views and submissions of any person involved in the application or who the limitation order may negatively affect.
Some limitation orders can be applied for and approved before the hearing. In this situation, the order ends at the start of the hearing and is no longer effective. If a party wants to apply for another limitation order about the relevant document or information included in the hearing, they need to tell the tribunal at the beginning of the hearing.
A non-publication order may also be made. In this situation, the following must comply with the terms of the non-publication order:
- publication of decisions
- reasons QCAT gives in the proceedings
- access to the registers
- records of the proceedings.