Once an application is lodged there is usually a two phase process:
The investigative process
After receiving an application the Board's staff will investigate the issues relating to the application, such as the decision-making capacity of the person who is the subject of the application.
The depth and detail of the investigation will vary according to the issues involved and the complexity of the case.
Typically the investigation process will involve:
- clarifying the issues involved in the application
- exploring alternative approaches to the problems as they arise
- establishing the urgency and arranging timely and appropriate hearing of the application based on the needs of and effect on the proposed represented person
- liaising with the applicant, the proposed represented person and all other interested parties including family and any professional service providers. The hearing process is discussed and information provided in relation to all questions that may arise
- providing an opportunity for conciliation between parties in appropriate cases
- ensuring the Board has before it all the information, including the attendance of interested parties, necessary for a determination of the case
- preparing a report for the Board before the hearing
Hearings before the Board
Hearings before the Board are much less formal than a traditional court.
The Board is not bound by legal rules and technicalities and does not have to use formal legal processes. However, hearings must be fair and without bias and all persons present are given the opportunity to express their views and wishes.
It is Board policy that, as far as possible, the proposed represented person should attend the hearing. If this is not practicable a Board member may visit the person and provide a report to the Board.
Hearings normally take between one and two hours, depending on the complexity of the matter and the number of persons present at the hearing.
It is the Board's practice to convene hearings at a place that causes the least inconvenience to the proposed represented person and other interested parties. Hearings are most regularly convened in Hobart, Devonport, Burnie and Launceston.
As the Board's hearing process is relatively informal, hearings can and have been held in hospitals, nursing homes and libraries as well as the Board's designated hearing room at Victoria Street, Hobart.
The Board usually conducts three-member hearings with members selected for their particular knowledge and skills in areas relevant to the subject of the application.
Single member Boards, often the President or Deputy President, are normally reserved for urgent applications and less complex matters.
The proposed represented person can be accompanied by anybody they choose, such as a lawyer, a friend, a relative, an advocate.
Hearings are public, but generally only persons with a direct interest in the matter attend the hearing.
The officer of the Board who conducts the investigation can give you more information about the hearing.