Skip to main content

Royal Commission to examine guardianship, substituted and supported decision-making

Starting on 21 November 2022, the Disability Royal Commission is holding its thirtieth public hearing to examine Australian guardianship and administration laws and policies with a particular focus on how substituted decision-making impacts on the rights of people with disability.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognises the importance of autonomy for people with disability, including the freedom to make one’s own choices and express their independence.[1] It also recognises that people with disability may require support to exercise their legal capacity.[2]

Public hearing 30 builds on previous and ongoing work of the Royal Commission, including policy roundtables held in May and June 2022 on guardianship and supported decision-making. To date, thirteen of the Royal Commission’s public hearings have raised issues connected to decision-making and guardianship arrangements.[3]

Lived-experience witnesses, advocacy groups, the NDIA, Public Guardians and Public Trustees will give evidence at Public hearing 30, which will:

  • explore the barriers for people with disability participating in guardianship and administration proceedings and the impact of the decisions on their lives

  • examine the assumptions about capacity and decision-making, including fluctuating capacity at different times of a person’s life

  • consider why substituted decision-making (such as guardianship and financial administration) appears not to be used as a last resort and why models of supported decision-making are not more widely used as an alternative to substituted decision-making

  • consider what safeguards may be appropriate to reduce violence, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in the context of both substituted and supported decision-making.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander witnesses will detail their experiences under these orders, and discuss whether important information is culturally considerate and easily accessible.

Chair of the Royal Commission, the Honourable Ronald Sackville AO KC, will preside over the hearing and be joined by Commissioner the Honourable John Ryan AM, and Commissioner Alastair McEwin AM.

The hearing will commence at 10.00am at the Novotel in Sydney Olympic Park, 11A Olympic Blvd, and is open for the public to attend. Journalists wishing to cover the hearing should notify the Royal Commission media team to ensure access to the media room and/or relevant information including schedules and live transcripts.

The Royal Commission has received 1,379 submissions and held 468 private sessions raising issues about guardianship, choice and control, and decision-making (as at 14 November 2022). Submissions remain open until the end of the year. View the Share you story web page to find out more.

Please direct all media inquiries to the Royal Commission’s media team on 0436 841 166 or via our email



[1] UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, art 3(a).

[2] United Nations General Assembly, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 30 March 2007, United Nations, Treaty Series vol.999 p.3 (entered into force 3 May 2008) art 12 (3).