Special powers

Sometimes a guardian under a guardianship order or a substitute decision maker under an advance care directive will need to apply for special powers to enable decisions to be forcibly brought into effect.

Special powers can include orders:

  • directing that the person resides in a particular place
  • that authorise the detention of a person in a particular place
  • allowing the use of reasonable force to ensure appropriate medical or dental treatment decisions, and other decisions about care and wellbeing, are brought into effect.

SACAT cannot make an order for special powers unless satisfied that the health or safety of the person the subject of the application, or the health or safety of others, would be seriously at risk.

Who can apply? 

Only a guardian or a substitute decision maker under an advance care directive can apply to SACAT for orders for special powers. 

An application for special powers can be made at the same time as an application is made for a guardianship order, or at a later time.

Reviews/cancellation/change of an order

  1. An application can be made to SACAT to change or cancel an order for special powers at any time if there is new information or a change in circumstances. 
  2. SACAT must review an order granting special powers to detain a person within six months of the making of the order and then at intervals of not more than one year. This is an automatic review
  3. SACAT must review an order granting any other special powers (not including a power to detain a person), at intervals of not more than three years. This is an automatic review
  4. An application can be made to SACAT for an Review of a SACAT decision granting special powers to detain a person. This is an 'Internal review' as of right - no permission is required to seek this review.
  5. An application can be made to SACAT for an Review of a SACAT decision granting any other special powers (not including a power to detain a person) with the permission of the Tribunal.