Apply to cancel or amend a permit

A permit holder or a non-permit holder can apply to cancel or amend a permit.

There are limited circumstances when a permit can be cancelled or amended at the request of a non-permit holder. This is because cancelling or amending a permit can seriously affect the permit holder’s right to use and develop the land.

Applications by a permit holder

The permit holder is the owner or occupier of the land, or any person who is entitled to use or develop the land. An application by a permit holder to cancel or amend a permit is made under section 87A of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Applications by a non-permit holder

Responsible authorities, referral authorities, objectors and people entitled to be objectors are non-permit holders.

An application by a responsible authority or referral authority to cancel or amend a permit is made under section 87 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

An application by an objector or a person entitled to object to the grant of the permit is made under section 89 of the Act.

If you are an objector, or a person entitled to object, you can only apply to cancel or amend a permit if you believe you should have been given notice of the permit application and were not, or if you are affected by:

  • an important miss-statement or concealment of fact in relation to the permit application
  • a substantial failure to comply with permit conditions, or
  • an important mistake in relation to the granting of the permit.

Applications to cancel or amend permits can be complicated

The circumstances in which you can make an application to cancel or amend a permit and the considerations which apply to VCAT’s decisions can vary for applications by permit holders and non-permit holders. For more information read Guidelines for Cancellation and Amendment of Permits under Sections 87 and 89 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Before you apply

Before you apply to cancel or amend a permit, check that VCAT can accept your application. We cannot cancel or amend a permit in some circumstances, including where the permit is for:

  • the construction or a building or works that have been completed
  • other development that is mostly complete
  • subdivision or consolidation of land and the plan has been registered under the Subdivision Act 1988.

If the matter is urgent you may apply for a stop order using the same form. Read more about injunctions, stop orders and interim enforcement orders

Time limits

If you are an objector or a person entitled to object, you must make your application as soon as is practicable after you become aware of the facts which form the basis of your application.

Extension of time to apply

Under section 126 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, VCAT can extend the time to apply. We can extend the time by which you must make an application to VCAT – if it is reasonable to do so and if extending time would not cause any prejudice or detriment to a party or potential party that cannot be remedied by an appropriate order for costs or damages.

Complete and submit the Application for an extension of time form to apply for more time to lodge an application.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You may have a legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT (such as a lawyer, town planner, relative, or some other person). In Planning and Environment cases you do not need to have VCAT's permission to be represented.

Find free or low-cost 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. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

  • When VCAT receives your application we assign a reference number and send you an initiating order. The initiating order sets out the steps in the progress of your case to a final decision. The order gives directions to you and other parties about the serving of documents on others and specifies the date of the final hearing, the date of the practice day hearing and, if necessary, the date of a compulsory conference. 

    There is usually a practice day hearing in applications to cancel or amend permits. At the practice day hearing we may hear the merits and make a decision in respect of less complicated applications. Otherwise, we will give further directions about the conduct of the proceeding.

    Read more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.

  • A compulsory conference is a form of mediation. We use compulsory conferences to allow parties to work together towards a settlement. If you have been told to attend a compulsory conference, you need to prepare an opening statement. Use the opening statement to clearly state your case. It can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the parties. See more about how to resolve a case by agreement.

  • VCAT members decide cases based on the parties submissions and the expertise of the members. In many cases submissions are supported by evidence, witness statements and/or an inspection. As soon as you receive the initiating order, start preparing for the hearing. If you are going to apply to call expert evidence, you will have to meet detailed requirements and strict timeframes. Gather together the documents you will bring to the hearing to support your case, for example, six copies of your written submission, photographs, videos, and witness statements. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.  

  • The hearing for an application to cancel or amend a permit is not the same as the hearing for a normal planning permit application for review. You may need to give evidence on oath or affirmation. Arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. Go directly to the hearing room – do not wait for your case to be called. Write your name on the appearance sheet for your case. The appearance sheet will be on the hearing room table. The hearing gives all parties a chance to make submissions, to give and hear evidence, ask questions, call witnesses and provide supporting documents.  Normally the responsible authority makes the first submission, followed by the referral authorities (if any), any objectors and finally the permit applicant. Each party has a brief right of reply. Read more about what to expect on final hearing day.

  • The VCAT member may give their decision at the end of the hearing. If they need more time or a site visit they normally give a decision within six weeks of the last hearing date. The VCAT member may give reasons for the decision verbally or in writing. If you want the reasons in writing, make the request within 14 days of the hearing date. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.