VCAT hearings – temporary COVID-19 measures

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has changed how it operates to comply with COVID-19 restrictions:

  • all VCAT venues are closed to the public,
  • no hearings are being held in person, and
  • all non-critical cases have been adjourned (postponed).

VCAT is hearing some cases by phone.

Remote witness room (in-person hearings)

  • If the affected person is using the remote witness room, they will be able to see what is going on in the hearing room by video. The people in the hearing room will be able to see the affected person on video as well. The affected person could ask to have a support person with them in the remote witness room. VCAT also have a support worker who is likely to be with the affected person while they use the remote witness room.

Making an oath

  • VCAT will ask all parties to give an oath or affirmation to VCAT, which is a promise to tell the truth.

Copies of the application

  • The VCAT member is likely to ask how the application was served on the other parties, particularly if one of them has not attended or says that they didn’t receive a copy of the application. This is very important as VCAT could adjourn (postpone) the hearing and tell you that you have to serve it again if they don’t think that it was served properly in the first place.

Your turn to speak

  • The VCAT member will hear from all the parties about whether to make the orders that the affected person has asked for in their application.
  • The perpetrator cannot ask the affected person questions in the hearing, unless VCAT allows it. And even if VCAT allows them to ask questions, there might be restrictions on what they can ask.

The result

  • The VCAT member will usually make a decision (an order) in relation to the application on the day. The VCAT member will make an order verbally and then prepare a written order to provide to all the parties. Usually this will be available on the day of the hearing.
  • If the affected person wants to ask for written reasons for the VCAT decision they must do so at the time of the VCAT hearing (not later).

This information is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.

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