Your selected location:
  1. Home
  2. /
  3. HHG Articles
  4. /
  5. Legal Capacity – What it means for you
11 Nov 2014

What does “legal capacity” mean?

Legal capacity is defined as a person’s capacity to make reasonable judgements. ”Legal capacity” in WA is defined in the Guardianship and Administration Act (WA) 1990 section 4(3) as:

Every person shall be presumed to be capable of —

(i) looking after his own health and safety;

(ii) making reasonable judgments in respect of matters relating to his person;

(iii)managing his own affairs; and

(iv) making reasonable judgments in respect of matters relating to his estate, until the contrary is proved to the satisfaction of the State Administrative Tribunal.


Appointment of Guardians by the State Administrative Tribunal (WA)

The Guardianship and Administration Act (WA) 1990 gives the State Administration Tribunal (SAT) legal powers to appoint guardians to safeguard the best interests of adults with decision making disabilities.  Such disabilities may be as a result of:

  • Intellectual disability
  • Mental illness
  • Acquired brain injury
  • Dementia

A person with a decision making disability may need a guardian when personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions need to be made in their best interests.  The WA legislation seeks to balance the rights of individuals to make decisions for themselves, with the need to legally protect people from abuse and exploitation and to ensure that informed decisions are made in their best interests.


Guardianship orders are time-limited, reviewable on request and all are reviewable at the end of the order. The maximum time for statutorily mandated reviews ranges between one and five years.  All States and Territories in Australia have in place guardianship and administration laws. Guardianship and administration powers are exercised by Guardianship Boards and Tribunals (such as the SAT in WA) and administered by public guardians, public advocates, public trustees and protective commissioners.


Guardianship legislation exists to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to have the equal access to justice and can exercise their legal rights on an equal basis with others. Australia has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 17 July 2008 which states the right of people with disability to enjoy equal recognition before the law (Article 12).

The appointment of a guardian is not necessary when informal arrangements can ensure the best interests of the person with a decision-making disability are being met. For example, appointment of a substitute decision-maker is not needed when:

  • a person with a decision-making disability is able to manage and maintain a reasonable quality of life for themselves
  • an enduring guardian has been appointed, who is acting in the best interests of the person
  • the person is being adequately supported and cared for by others
  • there are no personal or family conflicts about the person’s care and support needs
  • there are no major problems or issues that are posing an immediate or imminent threat to the person’s quality of life.

If you are concerned about the legal capacity or rights of a family member with a disability, contact out family law team for more information. 

This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our Perth Lawyers on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.  

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

Supporting Western Australians for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"


My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"


"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."


"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"


"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."


"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."


"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."


"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."


"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."


"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."


"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve and Jane

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."


"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."


"I had a fantastic lawyer in Matthew Lilly. He helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Matthew"


"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."


"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."


"Good service you can count on."


"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."


"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Matthew."


"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Lawyer in Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."


Select your location:

Please select your nearest office location so we can show you the most relevant information.