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VCAT Explained

PPG_blog_feb_image 8_VCAT explained

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) was established in 1998. The tribunal is a resolution service aimed at resolving disputes between parties in a fair and efficient manner. Around 90,000 disputes are resolved through VCAT each year with approximately 67% of applications relating to residential tenancy matters.

The tribunal is comprised of three divisions – civil, administrative and human rights. The civil division often relates to housing and property and determines a range of disputes:

  • consumer matters
  • domestic building works
  • legal services
  • owners corporation matters
  • residential and retail tenancies disputes
  • sale and ownership of real property, and
  • use or flow of water between properties.

The tribunal process begins when a person or party files an application. 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.

A Supreme Court judge heads VCAT as President. County Court judges serve as Vice Presidents. Applications are heard and determined by Deputy Presidents (appointed on a full time basis), Senior Members and ordinary Members (may be appointed on a full time, part time or sessional basis). Members have a broad range of specialised skills and qualifications, enabling VCAT to hear and determine cases of varying complexity and subject matter.

Hearings are conducted at 55 King Street, Melbourne, as well as at a range of venues in suburban and regional Victoria. VCAT decisions can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Victoria but only on questions of law.

For more information visit the VCAT website.

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