In a case involving family conflict, the Family Court has appointed an independent social worker as welfare guardian for the subject person and directed that she be paid for her services.
In considering whether there is scope to provide payment for welfare guardians, the Court noted that section 21 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 only allows welfare guardians to charge "all expenses reasonably incurred" and that, unlike the equivalent provision for property managers, it does not expressly state that the Court may make an order permitting remuneration. While Judge Murfitt acknowledged that it is unlikely that "expenses" could be read to include "remuneration", he noted that section 10(4) empowers the Court to "make such other orders...necessary...to give effect, or better effect to [a] personal order" and concluded that an order permitting payment of a welfare guardian could be made where it was shown to "serve the welfare" and "best interests" of the subject person. The Court set out a number of factors relevant to its consideration of whether such an order should be made including the availability, suitability, and capacity of family members; cautioned that the terms of any remuneration must be "protective of the interests of the subject person, least an unscrupulous welfare guardian take advantage of the right to charge for his/her services"; and reiterated that orders for payment would be unusual. It held that orders were appropriate in this case as "M's family members are rent with dissension and conflict about him, and there is a compelling need for an independent appointee, so that decisions are focused on M's wellbeing". In the matter of MW  NZFC 3907