Taking care of a mentally incapacitated person: Guardianship or Committee

Guardianship vs Committee

Under the Mental Health Ordinance (Chapter 136 of the Laws of Hong Kong), the relevant authority can appoint a Guardian or a Committee for the purpose of helping a mentally incapacitated person and the person(s) taking care of him/her.

So what are the differences between Guardianship and a Committee?

In broad terms, one can say that the concept of Guardianship caters mainly for the welfare of a mentally incapacitated person, while that of a Committee focuses more on their financial assets. One of the criteria for making a Guardianship Order is that it is “in the interests of the welfare of the mentally incapacitated person or for the protection of other persons”. For the purpose of appointing a Committee to assist a mentally incapacitated person, the law specifically refers to the situation where a person “is incapable, by reason of mental incapacity, of managing and administering his property and affairs”; the focus here, therefore, is on the management and administration of the incapacitated person’s “property and affairs”.