Enduring Powers of Attorney reform – a state and federal matter

A report containing a suite of recommendations which aim to prevent the abuse of Powers of Attorney in South Australia, is being considered by Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

The South Australian Law Reform Institute, based at the University of Adelaide, has made 120 recommendations about the role and operation of the Powers of Attorney and Agency Act 1994 (SA), following a review of current laws and community consultation.

A Power of Attorney is an important mechanism that allows a person, or persons, to make decisions on behalf of another when that person is not able to. Abuse of this power occurs when the appointed person acts against the interests of the individual who trusted them to manage their affairs.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has welcomed SALRI’s review, and is now considering its recommendations, which include educational measures, the redefinition of key terms, and strengthening the regulatory framework surrounding Power of Attorney.

“I will take into consideration matters in the SALRI’s report, noting that it is important we explore all opportunities to protect vulnerable South Australians,” Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said.

“This is an issue that is being tackled at both a state and federal level,” Ms Chapman said.

SALRI’s report comes as a national working group looks to establish a national register for Enduring Powers of Attorney.

“At the same time it is important that we review what laws are in place in South Australia, and consider opportunities to modernise them,” Ms Chapman said.

“This will not be impeded by the work happening at a national level,” she said.