The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) was established in 1998 to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ to deal with a range of disputes.

A Supreme Court judge heads VCAT as President and members have a broad range of specialised skills and qualifications, enabling VCAT to hear and determine cases of varying complexity and subject matter.

How does it work?

VCAT hears and determines, among other things, Planning and Environmental disputes.

Some disputes they can hear

If you want to:

  • review a decision by a municipal council to refuse you a planning permit
  • review a failure by a municipal council to decide your planning permit application within time
  • review conditions included by a municipal council in a planning permit it has granted
  • review a decision by a municipal council to grant a planning permit if you objected to the council against the grant of a permit
  • review a decision by a municipal council to refuse to extend the time in which a development in a planning permit must be started or completed
  • enforce a planning permit or a planning scheme
  • amend or cancel a planning permit.

The VCAT Process

The process often varies between cases depending on the nature and complexity of the issue. Some cases may take 15 minutes to resolve, while others may take a day and in exceptional circumstances, it may take several weeks to hear a case.

The process begins when a user of VCAT's services files an application with the relevant section. 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 mediation, a 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.

For more information, please visit VCAT.