A Proposal to Give State and Territory Tribunals Jurisdiction to Resolve ‘Assets for Care’ Disputes (Advance)
This article explores a proposal for a new ‘assets for care’ jurisdiction in state and territory tribunals. Older persons who have lost their homes (or other assets) under ‘assets for care’ arrangements could seek effective redress in state and territory tribunals, to regain assets which were lost (‘the new jurisdiction’). The Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2017 report, titled Elder Abuse: A National Legal Response has previously recommended such a new ‘assets for care’ jurisdiction be introduced, which is more accessible for older persons to obtain a remedy in these circumstances. However, the key features of enabling legislation for the new jurisdiction (ie how it would work in practice) have not yet been articulated as a single body of work. This article addresses that gap by providing a ‘legislative roadmap’, which policymakers could follow to implement new laws conferring an ‘assets for care’ jurisdiction on tribunals. This ‘legislative roadmap’ comprises key recommendations as to its features, which are discussed in the article. A new jurisdiction is necessary to overcome problems with the existing law, whereby older persons do not have effective redress to regain their assets when they are lost under ‘assets for care’ arrangements.