Lawyers always begin from the position that adults are presumed to have the capacity to give legal instruction. The law assumes that people over the age of 18 have legal capacity, unless a Court or the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal has ruled they do not have capacity (Guardianship and Administration Act 2000). Having cognitive difficulties will not necessarily negate a person’s ability to make decisions about a particular matter.

In order to be considered capable of providing legal instruction, a client should be able to (LSNSW, n.d.; MacDonald, 2008):

  • Comprehend the essential elements of the legal matter 
  • Understand the charges against them 
  • Respond to those charges with a plea 
  • Understand the role of the solicitor 
  • Have a basic understanding of the court process and be able to participate in proceedings 
  • Understand what impact their instructions will have on the outcome of the legal matter. 

If a lawyer has serious concerns about a client’s ability to give instruction, it may be possible to ask the client’s support person to assist by voicing the needs of the client. However, this depends on the matter and it is important to ensure that the support person does not have a conflict of interest (LSNSW, n.d.).

At its website, the Queensland Criminal Justice Centre states (QCJC, n.d.): Where a lawyer is put on notice that there may exist a ‘significant relationship’ between the actions or omissions that led to criminal charges, and, the possible existence of a relevant disability, the lawyer should invariably seek an adjournment and bail (depending on the circumstances) in order to investigate the matter of the client’s mental state and/or cognitive abilities.

Seeking an adjournment to obtain further advice and evidence may be the most useful approach if considering (1) whether the client is fit for trial, (2) whether the matter should be referred to appropriate diversionary courts, and (3) whether to make an adequate submission about mitigating circumstances. Where necessary, advise and assist clients to apply to Legal Aid Queensland to seek funding for a psychiatric assessment and report.

The Queensland Criminal Justice Centre’s website also advises that investigations on behalf of a client could include, but are not limited to:

  • The QP9 and criminal history, if any, from the prosecution 
  • Letters from treating doctors detailing the client’s condition 
  • Freedom of Information applications to the Medico-Legal Department of the relevant Acute Mental Health Unit in order to acquire the client’s mental health history where the person with intellectual disability also experiences a mental health issue 
  • Private psychiatric reports 
  • Psycho-social reports from psychologists 
  • Character references and details of any social supports in place for the client from relevant social workers and advocates or others.
decorative
The NDIA has released a Self-Management guide to assist participants looking to manage their own NDIS plan. Who is this guide for? NDIS participants, plan nominees, or child representatives who are self-managing their NDIS funding People who would like to understand what is involved in self-...
decorative
Queensland Government media release People with a disability using the TransLink Access Pass (TAP) will no longer pay for replacement card charges from August 1. Card expiry dates will be extended from one to five years too, meaning eligible travellers with a permanent disability won’t need to pay...
decorative
Queensland Government media release With the rollout of the NDIS locally from 1 July, Cairns region residents with disability are being encouraged by the Palaszczuk Government to check their eligibility and take up the opportunity to sign up to the scheme. Speaking about the rollout of the NDIS...
decorative
The Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors hosted the second Queensland NDIS industry briefing last week via a live web broadcast. If you didn't have a chance to tune in you can watch the video here. The briefing provides an update on key trends and market indicators for the...
decorative
Events celebrating Queenslanders with disability and promoting inclusion have been given a welcome boost by the Palaszczuk Government, with the announcement of the successful recipients for this year’s Disability Community Event grants program. Funding will be provided to 39 not-for-profit and...
decorative
The annual one-day conference on everything NDIS is coming to Brisbane on 24 July 2018, at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. NDS will present you with their plan for the way forward to ensure a strong and sustainable disability services sector and an NDIS that delivers on its great promise...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government will provide more than $1 million in funding to the Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) to help additional people access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke said the...
decorative
The Public Guardian last week awarded Townsville local, Kris Hood, with the Public Guardian Excellence Award for her role in supporting and advocating for clients with a disability. Kris is a Support Coordinator at Mercy Community NDIS Services Townsville and was awarded for her ‘excellence in...
decorative
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released the new Price Guides, which will come into effect as on 1 July 2018. Price increases 7.6% price increase for standard intensity attendant care (i.e. with daily personal activities and assistance with community participation). This is a...
decorative
National Disability Services (NDS) will hold their annual one-day conference on everything NDIS in Brisbane on 24 July 2018. NDS will present you with their plan for the way forward to ensure a strong and sustainable disability services sector. With almost 1,800 CEOs and senior managers attending...

Pages

Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
The Queensland Disability Housing Coalition (QDHC) is a Statewide, independent housing organisation advocating for the rights of all people with disability and mental health issues. QDHC works with people with a disability, their families and support networks, to identify issues and concerns...
Peak organisation for community services organisations supporting people with a disability. www.nds.org.au
Queensland Government web portal with resources to support people with a disablity. www.qld.gov.au/disability
Queensland government departmental website www.communities.qld.gov.au/disability
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIFW) published Australia's Welfare in October 2017. The report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics. Read the report here.
Legal Aid have a series of captioned recordings about Legal Aid Queensland services on their YouTube channel . Videos for community, health and education workers can be found here and include their published community legal education webinars. Upcoming webinars can be found on the Information for...
The Queensland Disaster Management website and the Get Ready website have a range of information and useful resources that can assist you to plan and prepare for an emergency. As part of your preparedness and planning for weather events, access regular weather forecast updates from the Bureau of...
To help prepare service providers for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) the Queensland Government, with support from the Sector Development Fund, has developed tools and resources to support organisations to respond to consumer demand in the NDIS. The project was delivered by the Nous...
The Queensland Government has collaborated with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to update the Preparing for the NDIS in Queensland factsheet. Another factsheet Find out more about the NDIS has also been developed which includes both NDIS and Queensland Government information sources. More information is available on the NDIS website.
The Queensland Government has introduced an online Queensland NDIS events calendar to connect Queenslanders with disability, their families and carers, businesses and service providers with NDIS related events across the state. The new tool allows people to search for events by region or audience (...
The Community Resource Handbooks were launched by Volunteering Queensland on 12 May 2015. They consolidate the knowledge gained through Volunteering Queensland's community leadership work with more than 2,000 community groups over the past fifteen years. The handbooks are aimed at small to medium...
Carers Queensland, in collaboration with Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy (QADA), the Public Trustee, the Office of the Public Guardian and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), has launched a series of five new videos to help people better understand advocacy and legal...
The Yarning Circle is a collection of stories about and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability. These stories were produced to provide information about the state-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network and to start a conversation about the NDIS and...
Did you know that there are approximately two young carers in every classroom? Many young carers find that their overwhelming responsibilities at home affect their ability to keep on track at school. Young carers are less likely to complete high school if they do not receive any support, which...

Pages

Power of Attorney A power of attorney is a formal document allowing someone else to make decisions on your behalf; both personl and financial. This person can apply for a Domestic Violence Order on the behalf of someone experiencing domestic and family violence. The Powers of Attorney Act 1998...
All service providers operating in Queensland are required to comply with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 . The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has jurisdiction to hear and decide complaints about contraventions of this Act. Frequently Asked Questions There are also...
There are a range of legal structures which may be suitable for Queensland not-for-profit community groups. The four main options are: an incorporated association: Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (QLD) and Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999 (QLD) a company limited by guarantee:...
decorative
Author: 
Natalie Siegel-Brown, Public Guardian

As the Queensland Public Guardian I am pleased to announce the inaugural opening of the Queensland Public Guardian’s Excellence Awards.

As Public Guardian, I want to acknowledge the exemplary work being undertaken by staff in the community services sector across the...

decorative
Author: 
Sharon Daley, QCOSS

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is held on 3 December each year.

It is a United Nations (UN) sanctioned day, celebrated internationally and aiming to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability, as well as to celebrate the...

Carer helping senior woman
Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, QCOSS

An essential element of person centeredness is to think about issues of power and control. With true person centred approaches, including individualised or self-directed funding models, people with a disability and those who care about them must be the ones that are in control and have authority...

Author: 
Jim Haywood, Centacare Brisbane

At a time of significant disruption in the community services sector, many organisations are rightly focused on defining their inventory and consolidating their market position. The idea of collaboration or partnership in an increasingly competitive market seems nonsensical to many agencies....

Ring of paper children including some in wheelchairs
Author: 
Kristian Schader, Calxa

With the impending roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) looming large in Queensland, some Not-For-Profit service providers in the Townsville region are expressing a feeling of isolation and of being somewhat disconnected.

Responding to this need, Calxa...

""
Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, Queensland Council of Social Service

Most people plan life in some way or other. Whether we use paper planners for day to day organisation, plan each month by the moon cycles, or develop a detailed five year plan about meeting goals, people generally have some way of keeping track of what goals they are planning and what steps they...

Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, Queensland Council of Social Service

With so much talk over the last couple of years about people with a disability and their family having more ‘choice and control’ over the supports and services they receive there have been some new terms and concepts introduced like self-direction, self-managed and self-directed funding. Some...

Carer
Author: 
Marlene Butteriss, Queensland Council of Social Service

When talking about how services work with, support and connect with people with a disability, the idea of being ‘person centred’ has been around for a long time. It’s a pretty easy term to understand, but a little harder to put into practice.

Why focus on person centred...

A screenshot of the Care Opinion website
Author: 
Michael Greco, Care Opinion Australia

Care Opinion is an independent, not-for-profit new web site which enables people to post their experiences of local social care services online, and in public (eg aged care, youth and disability care). ...

Nandjimadji art group
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

You can now access a series of resources that showcase best practice HACC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service delivery models. 

The three booklets tell the stories of innovative and positive service delivery practices that meet the cultural needs of their...

Pages

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print