Going to VCAT
What is VCAT?
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hears four types of disputes;
- Civil Division
- Residential Tenancies Division
- Administrative Division
- Human Rights Division
It is less formal than a court, and cases are heard by ‘VCAT members’ rather than judges and magistrate. These members listen to legal cases and decide on the outcome. One does not need a lawyer to attend, however they are able to attend with a lawyer if they choose.
- VCAT usually send a letter out with the time and date of the hearing and instructions on how you can get there. You need to get there 30 minutes prior to the hearing.
- During the hearing, VCAT will ask each party questions before they make a decision. It is important for parties to bring all relevant documentation and evidence with them. If you need more time to gather all your documents, you can ask for the hearing to be postponed.
- Legal representation is not necessary however a person can bring their lawyer or an advocate in if they choose.
- There are also volunteers otherwise known as ‘Court Support’ that can provide emotional support and basic advice for people attending hearing. You can request them on the day or request referral to be made prior to hearing.
There are some great resources out there to assist clients in preparing for VCAT, knowing what to do when they attend.
This is a short booklet sourced from www.vcat.vic.gov.au that covers a lot of information Taking it to VCAT; A guide to Residential Tenancies, Civil Claims and Owners Corporation Disputes at VCAT
Victoria Legal Aid provide a great concise reference of how to get there, what you need to do to prepare, what to do in a hearing, and what happens after? Victoria Legal Aid; Going to VCAT
Most hearing occur at 55 Kings St in Melbourne CBD, however there are VCAT offices around Victoria where many Civil and Residential hearings take place. These can be found on the VCAT Contact Us page
If you are not happy with the VCAT decision, act quickly. There are time limits. See Victoria Legal Aid Changing or Challenging an Order.