Apply for confidentiality
If you want information about your dispute to stay private, you must apply for confidentiality.
Most VCAT files, hearings and decisions are open to the public and media, unless we order otherwise.
Information and evidence you give to us, including your name, address or email address, may be available to anyone who views a file or attends a hearing, including the media.
If you give us information for a case we’re hearing, we’re obliged by law to share it with other parties in the case. This includes copying emails to all parties or a potential party to a case, so each party can see they have received the same information.
When a case is decided, the member might write reasons for their decision which are published on the Australasian Legal Information Institute website. Written reasons might include some of the information you have given us during the case.
In some cases, we may order or a party may apply to:
- restrict access to some or all of a case file
- conceal a person’s identity, either in documents (including written reasons) or in hearings
- impose a closed court order or a suppression order.
If you want to provide information to us in confidence you must first apply for confidentiality.
Information we protect
Our ability to protect information is limited by legislation and principles of open justice.
Depending on the circumstances, we can protect information in any type of case. It is particularly important to protect information in cases involving:
- intellectual disability or mental illness
- medical treatment
- victims of crime, including people affected by family violence
- freedom of information and privacy matters.
How to apply for confidentiality
You must apply before we make any orders.
You can apply in three ways:
- include in your original application for your case that you want confidentiality
- email us and ask for your address or other information to be withheld on VCAT orders
- fill out the Application for directions hearings or orders form and email or mail it.
- to apply for confidentiality in the Guardianship List, use the Application for confidentiality form.
Read the confidentiality factsheet.
How to submit protected information
When you submit protected information to VCAT you must follow strict rules.
- Use a cover sheet or describe the contents of each folder, container or electronic storage device. You must also include a statement that the material is protected information.
- You must submit protected information personally with the Principal Registrar. They sign and add the VCAT seal to confirm we have received it. They give a copy to the party who submitted the documents.
- The Principal Registrar will secure the material in a tamper-evident security bag or other appropriate container and place it in a locked storage area.
Privacy at VCAT
Understand how we store information and what is available to the public.
Communicate with VCAT and other parties
Understand when and how to communicate with VCAT and any other parties involved in your case.
Our fair hearing obligation
The obligation to provide a fair hearing is an important part of VCAT’s role and applies to everything we do.