About VCAT

VCAT is a tribunal that hears and decides civil and administrative legal cases in the State of Victoria, Australia.

Established in 1998, we are the busiest tribunal in Australia. We finalise more than 85,000 cases a year – mostly disputes – at over 46 venues across Victoria.

We serve the community by resolving disputes and making decisions about human rights cases, for example by appointing guardians for vulnerable Victorians. We do this in a timely, cost effective and efficient way.

VCAT is less formal than a court. In most cases, you do not need a lawyer or professional representative. Usually you must ask our permission to have someone represent you.

Where possible we help you reach agreement by talking through the issues at a mediation Mediations are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator. or compulsory conference Compulsory conferences are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of a VCAT member. , with the other people involved. If you cannot agree, we decide the case at a hearing The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. .

When hearing a case, we apply the relevant law - for example, the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 for cases about renting a home, or the municipal planning scheme in a development dispute. For more about what we do and the steps involved, see Steps to resolve your case.

We can only hear cases when a law gives us this authority. 

The law that establishes VCAT and governs our operations is the Victorian Civil and Administrative Act 1998, available from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

VCAT is supported by Court Services Victoria, a statutory corporate body established in July 2014 to provide administrative support and facilities to Victorian courts and VCAT.