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Pre-hearing, steps to be taken by the Board

  1. When an application for guardianship is received, a Board staff will contact the applicant, the person the application is about, and those people most participated in the welfare and care of that person. This will help to collate all the necessary information, further evidence and potential witnesses. We also advise them about the hearing process. We will send to the applicant a written acknowledgement of receipt of a completed application together with our relevant leaflets for information.  
  2. A social enquiry report to be prepared by the Director of Social Welfare will be called for.  
  3. Date, time and venue for the hearing are fixed.  
  4. A notice of the hearing is sent to all the parties and witnesses to the application.  
  5. In appropriate cases, witness summons is issued.

How would you prepare for a hearing?

Upon receiving the written acknowledgment of receipt of application, you will receive some leaflets. These are available online as well.

Read the information to prepare yourself for the hearing.

For information about the Board's facilities – particularly for people with mobility or hearing difficulties, and speakers of languages other than Cantonese or English, please contact the Board Secretariat.

At the Guardianship Board, we attempt to build into the actual hearing a relaxed and informal atmosphere as far as possible. We realize that coming to a hearing at a statutory board can be daunting to the parties including the applicant, the concerned person's family and friends as they generally do not get in touch with judicial systems in their daily living.

For this reason, we have prepared information for you to read before coming to the hearing such as information about what will happen next, who to go to for further assistance after the hearing.

At the hearing

Depending on complexities, a hearing normally lasts for 20 minutes to 45 minutes. Three Board members hear a case. They consider the relevant written evidence and take evidence from those attending the hearing. The Board always invites the person the application is about and the applicant to attend. The Board may also allow some witnesses to give evidence over the telephone. After considering the evidence as a whole, the Board will make decision if a guardian is required and if so, who it will be and what powers the guardian will have. The Board may otherwise dismiss an application.

What happen next?

If private guardians are appointed, they are authorized to make decision with the powers they have been given in the order. They may wish to read the leaflet "Guide for Private Guardian" prepared by the Social Welfare Department or they may read an "Abbreviated Guide for Private Guardian" online prepared by us for more information about their role and functions.

If the Director of Social Welfare is appointed, then a public officer on behalf of the Director of Social Welfare will begin to make decisions with the powers given to the Director of Social Welfare in the order.

Written orders and reasons for order

The Board gives written order and reasons for order for every hearing it conducts. These are sent out to the parties within 7 days after the hearing.

After the hearing, will you receive further information from the Guardianship Board?

The Board will send to the parties a copy of the order, the written reasons for order, and some information leaflets, and (where appropriate) forms of accounts of expenses for future use.

What to do if the Guardianship Order or decision of the Board is not helping the situation?

You will have the following options available to you if you are A PARTY to the guardianship application:

  1. To appeal to Court

    A party may appeal to the High Court under s.59W of the Mental Health Ordinance from any decision of the Guardianship Board on a question of law on the Guardianship Board's proceedings.

    An appeal should be made within 28 days of receipt of the order issued by the Guardianship Board.

    For more information, please see Appeal of this website.
  2. To apply for review

    A party is entitled to apply for review of guardianship order with an aim of varying the order. If you are NOT a party to the guardianship application, you cannot lodge an appeal directly. You may wish to apply for review or directions provided you can satisfy the Board that you have a genuine interest in the welfare of the person the application is concerned about.

    The application form for review can be downloaded from this website. 
  3. To apply for directions

    A party or interested person can apply for guardianship directions to the Guardianship Board to seek clarification on the nature and extent of the order or on the exercise, extent and duration of any particular powers and duties.
    The application form for directions can be downloaded from this website.
  4. To lodge a complaint to the Board

    Regarding the complaints procedures of the Board, please see Complaints and Feedbacks of this website.
  5. To discuss your concern with the case officer assigned by the Director of Social Welfare for the case. He/She could be the delegated guardian if public guardian is appointed.