Mental health

VCAT can review decisions made by the Mental Health Tribunal under the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022. We hear and decide these cases in our Human Rights List.

From 1 September 2023, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 will replace the Mental Health Act 2014 and Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2021. Most laws under the Mental Health Act 2014 will remain with some changes. 

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 sets out how to assess whether people have a mental illness and how to treat them. 

The Mental Health Tribunal determines whether all the criteria for mental health treatment in the Act applies to a person. If the criteria do apply, the Mental Health Tribunal may make a compulsory treatment order. The Mental Health Tribunal may order electroconvulsive treatment for a person if it decides that they do not have the capacity to consent to the treatment or they are under the age of 18 years. 

VCAT can hear and determine applications to review these decisions by the Mental Health Tribunal.

The law advocates for the rights, dignity and autonomy of the person receiving mental health treatment. The Act emphasises assessment and treatment in the least restrictive way possible. Voluntary assessment and treatment is preferred.  

Cases we can't help with

We can’t accept:

  • some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation
  • cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.

Who can apply

Any person who was a party in the Mental Health Tribunal hearing can apply to VCAT to review the tribunal's decision.

Time limits

You must apply for a review within 20 business days of the day the Mental Health Tribunal made the decision or of the day you received the reasons for the decision.


We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

Make an application

There are no application or hearing fees. You may have to pay a fee for other VCAT services.

Print-friendly application form

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.

Organisations that may be able to help you

VCAT can't offer you legal advice. Below are organisations that may be able to help with your case.

Mental Health Tribunal

Makes decisions on whether patients need compulsory mental health treatment.

State Trustees

Support for Victorians who can't manage their own affairs due to mental illness, injury or disability.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Provides access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.