Join a VCAT case - Guardianship and administration

If you want to join a case about guardians and administrators, find out about your options and what you need to do.

Join a VCAT case

When VCAT makes decisions about guardians and administrators,  it’s important that the right people are involved.

If you haven’t been mentioned in a VCAT application about guardians and administrators but you have a direct interest in the case, you can ask us to add you to the case.

You have two options:

  1. Ask us to join as a person with a direct interest
    As an interested person, you can participate in the hearing and have your views heard.
  2. Ask us to join you as a party in the case.

Who can join a case

Join as a person with a direct interest

We decide if you can be joined to the case as a party or a person with a direct interest. 

A VCAT member looks at your reasons and decides if you can be joined before the hearing or at the hearing.

An person with a direct interest is not a party but can be:

  • a relative of the person the application is about
  • a close friend
  • their attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney
  • their supportive attorney
  • any person named in the application as having a direct interest in the application.

What they can do

An person with a direct interest can:

  • ask for a copy of the application
  • come to the hearing
  • get a copy of the order made
  • ask to see the VCAT file. 

Join as a party

A party can be:

  • the applicant
  • the proposed represented person
  • the proposed guardian or administrator
  • any existing guardian or administrator
  • any other person VCAT joins as a party.

As a party, you can participate in the hearing and have your views heard.

We decide if you can be joined to the case as a party. 

A VCAT member looks at your reasons and decides if you can be joined before the hearing or at the hearing.

What a party can do

A party can:

  • get a copy of the application and any information filed in support of the application
  • come to the hearing
  • give evidence
  • make a submission at the hearing
  • get a copy of the order made
  • apply for a rehearing.

We can remove someone as a party if another party asks in writing or if we decide they are not ‘a proper or necessary party in the proceeding’. We do this before the hearing or at the hearing.

Get help and advice before you apply

These organisations may be able to help you.

Office of the Public Advocate

Advice on guardianship and advocacy matters for Victorians living with a disability. Also undertakes the role of guardian for some Victorians.

Law Institute of Victoria (LIV)

Advice on the Victorian legal system and how to find a lawyer.

Victoria Legal Aid

Free legal information and legal help for Victorians.

How to join a case

To apply to join a case as a person with a direct interest or a party, send us your postal address, contact phone number and relationship to the person the application is about.

If there’s no time to write to us, you can come to the hearing and explain your reasons in person. We may ask the other parties for their views. We then make an order agreeing or refusing your request to be joined.

After you apply to join

1 Ask to join the case

  

2 We give you a copy of the original application

Read these documents to understand what the application is about and what decision the applicant is asking for.

If you haven’t received a copy of the application, contact us or the applicant.

3 What happens next

To make a decision about whether you should be joined to a case, we may:

  • make an order to join you
  • write to other parties first to ask them what they think, and then make a decision
  • make a date for a directions hearing to decide.

If you need to come to a directions hearing to decide on the application to join, we send you a notice.

You come to the hearing and give us information about why you think you should be joined.

We make a decision at this hearing. If you’re joined, the member makes an order to name you as a person with a direct interest or a party.

4 You get a notice of hearing

When you’re joined to the case, we send you a notice for the final hearing that gives you the date, time and whether you need to attend by phone, video or in person. The notice explains what you need to do next.

Check the time, date and location (if you are coming to VCAT in person). This is shown on the notice or order we sent you.

Most hearings are held at the William Cooper Justice Centre. If there’s a suburban or regional VCAT venue close to the represented person, we hold the hearing there if it’s possible.

You can confirm the time of your hearing at Upcoming hearings after 4.30pm on the day before your hearing.

5 Prepare your case

You need to be ready to present facts and answer questions about the case. There are documents to organise and decisions to make.

You must send all documents that support your case to the other parties and to VCAT. If you are attending by phone or videoconference, make sure you do this by email and by the deadline we tell you in your notice.

The notice you receive from us tells you how we will handle your case. Find out how to prepare for a directions hearing or final hearing.

6 On the day

At a final hearing, all parties can present their case, ask questions and give evidence in front of a VCAT member.  People with a direct interest may also be involved.

Bring any evidence you want to use to explain your point of view and a list of issues that you want to discuss.

What to expect on the day

If you are attending by phone or video

If you are attending by phone or video make sure you’re ready at the time we give you. (It’s too late to ask to attend by phone on the day of the hearing.)

How to attend by videoconference

If you are coming to VCAT in person

Arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time to get through the security screening (similar to security at the airport) and find your hearing room. 

When you arrive:

  • Check your room at Upcoming hearings or tell a staff member at the counter that you’ve arrived for your hearing.
  • Go to the hearing room and be ready to present your case.
  • Speak to a staff member if you have arranged security, disability support, an interpreter, or technology for your hearing.

You’re free to talk about the case before the hearing. You should only talk about confidential information in general terms. There’s no need to talk about the case before the hearing if it would lead to more issues.

7 Get an outcome

At a hearing, the VCAT member makes a decision and gives an order. They usually tell you what the decision is, and the reasons for it, at the end of the hearing.

An order tells parties how the case has been decided and any action they must take.

All parties must follow VCAT's orders.

You can ask for reasons in writing within 14 days of getting the order.

Sometimes we ask the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) or another person or organisation (for example, a service provider) to investigate and report about an issue.

When this happens, we usually schedule another hearing after we get the report. You can ask for permission to see a copy of the report.

More about the types of orders we make

We regularly review (reassess) orders

We reassess the guardianship and administration orders we make regularly. This is to check if circumstances have changed or there’s new information available that affects it.

We review:

  • guardianship orders every 3 years
  • administration orders every year
  • supportive guardianship and supportive administration orders at least once a year.

We send you a notice of hearing with details of the reassessment hearing.

Help and support

  • You can look at most VCAT files at our Melbourne office at 55 King Street, Melbourne if you arrange it with us. If you’re not part of the case then you must pay a fee.  

    If your request is approved, you look at the file in a private room with security cameras. You can’t remove any documents, but you can take photos with your phone, or buy a photocopy card for $2 from our Customer Service counter and make copies for 60 cents a page. 
     
    1. Download the form 
    Download the File and Document Access Request form or PDF and send it to us (see the last page for instructions). 
     
    If you’re a journalist, download the Media Request form and send it to us. 
      
    2. Make a booking 
    Bookings are for 1 hour, Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4pm. Call us on 1300 01 8228 or email us. 

    Find the right email address for your type of case
     
    (If you need more than one hour or want to bring more than two people with you, let us know when you book.) 
     
    3. Pay the fee (if it applies to you) 
    If you’re not part of the case you need to pay a fee. 

    Fees for other services Corporate Standard Concession
    View a file where the person isn't a party
    (fee per file)
    $120.00 $120.00 $44.40

    Pay when you come to VCAT between 9am - 4pm with: 

    • credit card -  MasterCard or Visa 
    • EFTPOS 
    • cash 
    • a bank cheque, solicitor firm cheque or money order - made out to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. We don’t accept personal cheques. 

    Find out if you’re eligible to have this fee waived

    Learn more about how to view a VCAT file
     

  • All information you give us for your case is available to anyone who looks at the case file or attends the hearing, including media. 

    They might get information like your name, contact details and personal information. 

    By law, with some limited exceptions, we must share information that you give us for your case with other parties. This includes your documents and evidence. 

    But it’s illegal to publish or broadcast information that could identify a party in a guardianship, powers of attorney or medical treatment case, unless we make an exception. 

    You can ask us at the start of the case to keep your information confidential. We may not agree to this request.

    Find out more about how to apply for confidentiality
     

  • If you need an interpreter, contact us to arrange a professional interpreter (at no cost to you) before the hearing.

    Make sure you ask for an interpreter as early as you can.

    We connect with a large network of interpreters in 160 languages. Tell us in English what your language is when you ask for an interpreter. It’s best to ask when you apply to VCAT or as soon as possible after we’ve sent you your hearing date.

    We don’t allow a relative or friend to interpret for you at a hearing.

  • We offer support to ensure VCAT is culturally safe and inclusive for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    We can help you with:

    • booking a Koori hearing room
    • organising a Koori Engagement Officer to attend you hearing or mediation with you
    • general information and advice about your case.

    Call our Koori Helpline to speak to a Koori Engagement Officer on 0417 516 335, Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm.
     
    Read more about Koori support at VCAT

  • Most of our hearing locations are accessible. Contact us for accessibility information about a venue.

    We can also organise support for people with disability at VCAT.

    • We can arrange an assistive listening device or hearing loop for your hearing, compulsory conference or mediation. Contact us so we can have these facilities ready for you.
    • You can also ask to attend VCAT by telephone

    Our disability liaison officers can support you to access our services and venues.

    Ask for a disability liaison officer to help:

    ●    Email us at disability.access@vcat.vic.gov.au
    ●    Call us on 1300 01 8228.

    Find out more about disability services at VCAT