Join a VCAT case - Powers of attorney

 If you want to join an enduring powers of attorney or supportive attorney case, find out what your options are and what you need to do.

Join a VCAT case

When VCAT makes decisions about enduring powers of attorney or supportive attorneys, it’s important that the right people are involved.

If you haven’t been named as a party in a VCAT application about enduring powers of attorney or supportive attorneys 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 an 'interested person’
  2. Ask us to join you as a party in the case.

Who can join a case?

Join as an interested person

We decide if you can be joined to the case as an interested person. 

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

An interested person is not a party but can be:

  • any guardian appointed for the principal
  • any administrator appointed for the principal
  • the principal’s domestic partner
  • the principal’s nearest relative
  • any other person VCAT adds such as a family member,  partner, friend, neighbour, or solicitor.

What an interested person can do

An interested person can:

  • ask for a copy of the application
  • come to the hearing
  • get a copy of the order made
  • apply for a rehearing.

Join as a party

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.

A party can be:

  • the person who made the application
  • the principal
  • all attorneys
  • all supportive attorneys
  • any person we join as a party.

What a party can do

A party can:

  • get a copy of the application
  • come to the hearing
  • 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.

How to apply to join a case

If you want to apply to join a case as an interested person or a party:

  • if your situation is urgent, contact us for advice or come to the hearing and ask the member
  • write to us or email us with 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 the application to be joined.

Find our contact details

What happens next

1
Ask to join the case
2
We give you a copy of the original application

Read these documents to understand what the dispute 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
Come to VCAT for a directions hearing

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 an interested person or a party.

4
We give you a notice of hearing

When you’re joined to the case, we give 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 and date you need to attend VCAT (if you are coming to VCAT in person). This is shown on the notice we send you.

If you’re coming in person, 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 principal, we hold the hearing there if it’s possible.

You can find out the  room for your hearing at Today’s hearings after 4.30pm on the day before your hearing.

5
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.

Find out about what to expect on the day – including how to behave, and how the hearing works. 

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 join a 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 Today’s 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.

6
Get an outcome

At a final 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 the VCAT member to write the reasons for their decision.  You must ask for the reasons within 14 days of getting the order.

Organisations that can help

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.

Help and support

  • VCAT cannot give legal advice. If you do choose to get legal advice, you will need to pay any costs. 

    If you want to talk about what you should do, you can access free or low-cost legal advice or find a private lawyer.
      
    If you want a lawyer or other professional representative to speak on your behalf at VCAT, let the other party know in writing before the hearing and ask permission when the hearing starts. You will need to explain why. 

    For some case types you have an automatic right to representation.

    If the claim is for goods and services under $15,000, we generally don’t allow a lawyer or other professional representative to speak for you at VCAT. 

    If you do choose to get legal advice, you’ll need to pay any costs. 

    Read more about legal and professional representation
     

  • 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.

    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