When VCAT starts a case
When VCAT opens a case, this means the start of a legal process. Find out what your responsibilities are.
Is this page for you?
If you’re involved in a dispute about planning, land valuation or environment and resources, this page is not for you.
For information to help you see:
- When VCAT starts a case – Planning disputes
- When VCAT starts a case – Land valuation
- Environment and resources cases
This page is for all other cases.
What we do when we start a case
When we receive an application and the correct fee, we first assess it to make sure the law allows us to deal with the dispute or case type. If we can accept the application we:
Give your case a reference number
We give your case a unique reference number. You can find this number on any letter we send you. Use this number whenever you contact us by phone or in writing.
Send you and all parties involved in the case a notice
You get a notice that gives you the date, time and location you need to come to VCAT. The notice explains what you need to do next.
You may come in person, or you may attend VCAT by phone or videoconference.
VCAT support services
We offer a range of support services to ensure all Victorians can access us. These include interpreters, disability support, family violence support and Koori support. If you need support ask for it as early as possible before you come to VCAT.
What you need to do
From the start of your case at VCAT, there are things you must do and decisions to make to get a timely outcome.
Give us the information we need
Check the letters, emails or notices you get from us carefully. Follow the instructions we give you so we can resolve your case and avoid delays.
To make the process fair to all parties, it’s your responsibility to act honestly and not knowingly give false or misleading information to us. You must make sure that you identify the right parties in your dispute and provide the information we ask for, including contact details.
Without this information, VCAT can not enforce a decision.
Share your documents with the other parties
We tell you the date you must come to VCAT in the notice we send you. We also ask you to share your application and all the documents you plan to use in the case with the other parties.
If you are attending by phone or video you must also send your supporting documents to VCAT. This is to make sure that the other parties know what the case is about.
Make sure you share your documents or the case may be delayed.
Treat VCAT and the other parties with respect
VCAT has a duty to make sure everyone who is part of a VCAT case gets a fair hearing.
To do this, all parties and their representatives must participate in VCATs processes in a responsible way so that VCAT can make sure the hearing is fair.
As a party or representative you must:
- treat VCAT and the other parties/representatives with courtesy and respect at all times
- act honestly and not knowingly give false or misleading information to VCAT
- follow all rulings and directions VCAT makes.
Learn more about your role in our fair hearing obligation.
Other things you can do
You can ask us to consider how your case is managed. You can apply for:
Your privacy at VCAT
Most VCAT files, hearings and decisions are open to the public and media, unless we order otherwise.
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. If you want to provide information to us in confidence you must first apply for confidentiality.
Find out more about privacy at VCAT.
How to communicate with VCAT and other parties
Understand when and how to communicate with VCAT and any other parties involved in your case.
End a case by dismissal or strike out
When you respond to an application against you, you can ask for VCAT to dismiss a case or end it in a strike out.
Prepare to come to VCAT
It’s important to prepare for your hearing day. There are documents to organise and decisions to make so you’re ready to present the best case possible.