Sometimes life doesn’t always go to plan which can see us finding ourselves involved in disputes, either with other individuals or commercial organisations. Such disputes are rarely pleasant and can be the source of much distress.
The state of Victoria formed VCAT or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 1998. The purpose behind VCAT is to provide an impartial and fair adjudication process to those residing in Australia. In this article, we’ll outline the steps required to commence the VCAT adjudication process which will hopefully result in achieving your desired outcome.
Before Making Your Application
You should always check whether there is a fee applicable for bringing your case to VCAT. If there is a fee due, the value will often vary depending on your case which is why it’s a good idea to check before committing to a decision.
In addition, there may be a time limit surrounding your case so it is prudent that you make your grievances known as soon as reasonably practicable. It would be a shame to lose your eligibility for a VCAT hearing due to surpassing the time limit.
Finally, your specific case may require the submission of additional supporting evidence with your application so it’s better to be prepared.
The Application Process
All applicants are required to fill out and submit an official application form. Furthermore, the form required will depend upon the type of case you wish to be heard. The VCAT website has listed all of the applicable forms in an easy to use format so we would suggest starting there, you can even begin your application online.
The Next Step
Once VCAT have received your application and the applicable fee, they will review the details to ensure that the case falls within their jurisdiction. From there, you will receive;
- A unique reference number which will help you track the progress of your case through the system. It is important to note that this number will be different to your online reference number if making your application online.
- From this point onwards, you should expect to receive directions or orders. These orders will explain what is expected of you to progress your claim through the adjudication process.
VCAT encourages all applicants to represent themselves due to the informality of the hearing process. With that being said, there are several instances where you may feel more confident with personal representation. VCAT representation in Melbourne can be arranged through a law firm of your choice so we would suggest making contact with a suitable solicitor for further advice. They will of course be able to assist in the preparation of your case file as well as represent you during the hearing.
Once the final hearing is complete, VCAT will come to a decision which will take into account all of the information presented to them by both parties. This decision will be fair and impartial and will hopefully provide closure for all parties concerned.
To enforce a VCAT decision, the applicant will then need to proceed through the appropriate court.