Guardianship and Administration

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Discussions with the client

It is important to remember that a client may never have been to a court or VCAT before.  It is likely that the VCAT Member will want to speak with the client at the hearing.  Before the hearing you should inform the client of the process, discuss the type of issues and questions that VCAT will be likely to ask at the hearing and, if required, assure them that they are not at VCAT because they have done something wrong.

You should also obtain detailed instructions from the client in relation to those things that are likely to be raised by the VCAT Member on the day of the hearing.  In doing so, you should at all times be clear about the fact that you are representing the client and not their family.

When taking instructions from the client, it is also important to remain patient - it may take time to gain full instructions from a person with a disability.  This may mean additional appointments with the person to get full instructions.

This jurisdiction can be very emotional for the client.  Trusted family members, friends and medical practitioners may make statements relating to a person's disability and functioning capacity that may be confronting and offensive to the client.  The client may become emotional and upset and you should not judge the client or deny them the right to express their feelings.