After you apply – Powers of attorney

After you’ve applied to VCAT, it’s important to understand what you need to do and what happens next.

Important

Whenever you email or write to VCAT you must also send a copy to all other parties involved in the case.

1 Apply to VCAT
2 We contact you and the person the application is about

Due to COVID-19 these timeframes do not apply.  It will take longer to hear from us about the next steps in your case.

We assess your application, including the risk and urgency of the situation and contact you within two weeks to:

  • discuss the risks and needs of the person the application is about 
  • make practical arrangements to come to VCAT
  • give you a date for a hearing 
  • ask for more information if we need it.

We also talk to the person the application is about to understand what’s important to them and explain the process.

If you’ve applied online using the Guardianship Hub we tell you about the progress of your application regularly by email.

If your application is urgent, contact us by email at humanrights@vcat.vic.gov.au or call 1300 01 8228 (press option 2) Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

3 You get a notice

If we can accept your application, you get a notice 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.

All parties in the case and people with a direct interest in the case (interested persons) also get a notice.

4 Send your documents

Send a copy of your application and supporting documents to every person mentioned in the application, including interested people who are not ‘parties’.

Send interested people who are not parties a copy of the application, but don’t send them any other documents you submitted to us.

If you’re attending by phone or videoconference

Make sure you send all parties and VCAT the supporting documents you plan to use at VCAT. You must send these by email.

The deadline to send documents is in your notice or order.

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.

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

We strongly encourage the person you are applying about to attend, as the decisions we make affect them. We try to make it as easy as possible for them to come.

If the person the application is about is unable to leave their hospital or care facility, we may be able to arrange a hearing at the hospital or care facility, in limited circumstances.

As the applicant you must come.

Any other person with an interest in the application can also come.

6 Ask for any support services you need

To help you and the person you are applying about to attend, we offer a range of support services, including for people with a disability, interpreters, accessibility, security, family violence and Koori support.

If you haven’t asked when you applied, contact us.

7 Check the hearing details

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

You can find out the time for your hearing at Upcoming hearings after 4.30pm on the day before your hearing.

If you’re coming to VCAT, look at the location and plan how to get there.

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.

8 On the day

At a final hearing, all parties can present their case, ask questions and give evidence in front of a VCAT member. Interested parties 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.

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.)

Find out how to attend by video conference

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.
  • 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.

9 Get an outcome

If you reach an agreement (settle) at a mediation or compulsory conference, the agreement is put in writing and signed by all parties.

If you come to a hearing, the VCAT member makes a decision and gives an order. An order tells parties how the case has been decided and any action they must take. All parties must follow VCAT's orders. They usually tell you what the decision is, and the reasons for it, at the end of the hearing.

All parties must follow VCAT's decision.

You can ask the VCAT member to write the reasons for their decision. You must ask for the reasons 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.