Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal

Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal deals with disputes between the community, the applicant and Council.

If an appeal is lodged against Council's decision to approve or refuse a particular use and or development, the VCAT will hear submissions from the Council, the permit applicants, the objectors and others before making the final decision.

How VCAT resolves cases

VCAT has a number of "lists" (sections) which specialise in particular types of cases. The VCAT Act governs the general operation of each list; however, the functions of VCAT under enabling Acts are allocated to lists. For this reason, the process often varies between lists.

Variations in how we resolve cases may occur due to the nature of the cases brought to each list. Some cases may take 15 minutes to resolve, while others may take a day. In exceptional circumstances, it may take several weeks to hear a case due to the complex nature of the issues involved.

The process begins when a user of VCAT's services files an application with the relevant list. To help settle a dispute, a mediation, directions hearing or compulsory conference may take place depending on the case; however, many cases proceed to a hearing. Hearings give parties the opportunity to call or give evidence, ask questions of witnesses and make submissions. At the end of the hearing, a member of VCAT either gives a decision on-the-spot, or writes a decision after the hearing and delivers the decision as soon as possible.

The people involved in a dispute may at any time agree to resolve their differences without the need for a mediation, directions hearing, compulsory conference or a hearing. If the case does proceed to a hearing, there is still an opportunity to settle prior to delivery of the decision. Decisions of VCAT can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Victoria but only on questions of law.

You can view archived decisions from VCAT:

Source: Australasian Legal Information Insitute (AustLii) website

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