Short cases – Planning disputes
How to apply for a short case at VCAT.
If your planning dispute isn’t complex and can be handled in a short amount of time, you can apply to have your case heard as a short case. VCAT may also decide to hear a case as a short case.
Short cases should be able to be heard and an outcome reached in one to two hours. They generally involve a small number of parties and you usually get the decision about your dispute at the end of the hearing.
We don’t usually visit the land or a site in a short case, so you should be prepared to use photos, plans and other media to explain your case.
How to apply to be heard as a short case
You should apply for your case to be heard as a short case when you complete your application form.
If you have already applied, you can request that your case is heard as a short case at any time. If the hearing date has already been set you will need:
- the information about the permit application from the responsible authority or other decision maker
- a statement of service that confirms that everyone who should receive a notice of application has been served. Learn more about serving documents
- to wait until the time for statement of grounds to be submitted has expired.
Estimated time to VCAT
Due to COVID-19 these timeframes do not currently apply. It will take longer to hear from us about the next steps.
If your case can be heard as a short case, we estimate 12–14 weeks from the time you lodged your application to a hearing.
How to prepare for a short case
Before the hearing you will be asked to provide documents and information. This may include:
- details of the site, including dimensions, area, levels, features, use and development
- copies or electronic images of the locality plan and site and area if possible
- a description of the proposal and any decision made by relevant authorities
- planning scheme provisions
- other relevant background information
- an explanation of your position with short reasons and arguments in support of your decision.
At the hearing you should be ready to speak to all the information in your case in under 30 minutes.
Use our submissions in short cases template to make sure you include all the relevant information for your case.
What's a responsible authority?
The organisation that manages and enforces the planning laws for an area – usually the local council. It also decides whether a planning permit application is approved or refused.
What's a statement of service?
A statement of service confirms that you have sent details of your VCAT case to all of the people involved in the dispute.
What's a statement of grounds?
A statement that explains your position in the case, and whether you agree or disagree with the issues raised in the application.
For an objector in a planning dispute, the statement should briefly explain why you object to a decision about a planning permit.
You can also attach the original objection you submitted to the council to show your reasons.
Make an application
Choose the Short Cases List when you complete your VCAT application.
Prepare your submission for the hearing
Before your planning dispute is heard at VCAT, you’ll need to prepare a submission.
How VCAT makes decisions in Planning cases
Understand how we come to a decision when we hear a planning case at VCAT.
Determining a case ‘on the papers’
We may make a decision about your case based on the written submissions of everyone involved. You do not need to come to a hearing.