Date: 6 February 2020
Court/Tribunal: Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Judicial Officer/Tribunal Member: Senior Member Howard, Member Fitzpatrick
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: s 25
Rights Considered: Right to privacy and reputation
Other Legislation: Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld) s 163(3)(viii); Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) s 143(3)
Keywords: Health, Mental Health, Guardianship; Public Law Considerations

This case concerned an application for leave to appeal a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision to change the terms of appointment of the Office of the Public Guardian for adult, LER. The Tribunal briefly mentioned the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) in making a non-publication order and granting an extension of time for leave to appeal.

The applicants (LN and LG), daughters of the adult, LER, filed an application for leave to appeal a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision made on 17 December 2018. The relevant decision changed the terms of the appointment of the Public Guardian for LER. The change in terms meant that the Office of the Public Guardian was no longer appointed in relation to decisions regarding accommodation and the provision of services: at [1].

The Tribunal considered whether the applicants, and respondent LSS (LER’s wife), had standing to appeal. The Tribunal granted leave to all parties to be legally represented: at [12]. The Tribunal then considered whether it was appropriate to make a non-publication order pursuant to section 66 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld): at [16]. In granting the order, Senior Member Howard and Presiding Member Fitzpatrick briefly noted that issuing the non-publication order was ‘in keeping with the...right to privacy’ under the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld): at [16]. 

LSS submitted that the application for leave to appeal was filed outside of the 28-day time limit. The Tribunal granted an extension of time, as there was no evidence that any prejudice had been suffered by the respondent as a result of the short delay, the applicants’ lawyers had used their best endeavours to file the application on time, and the applicant’s grounds of appeal were arguable: at [23]. In granting the extension of time, the Tribunal noted that the case ‘involved human rights’, and concluded that it was ‘in the interests of justice to enable all relevant and fairly arguable matters to be ventilated’: at [23]. 

The Tribunal found that steps were deliberately taken by LSS to frustrate attempts to gain particular evidence regarding LER, which resulted in ‘a protracted hearing process’: at [61]. The Tribunal considered that it was in the interests of LER for a separate representative to be appointed to advocate for an outcome that was in LER’s best interest: at [84].