Respond to an application – Powers of attorney

When you get a notice from VCAT, find out what this means for you and what happens next.

Respond to a VCAT case image

What the notice means

If you’ve received a notice from us, someone has made an application that involves you to VCAT – the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

You are called a ‘party’. The person who made the application is the applicant.

As a party, you can participate in the hearing and have your views heard.

Read more about how VCAT works

Get help and advice before you come to VCAT

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.

Why you should come to VCAT

It’s very important that you don’t ignore the application that involves you. At VCAT, you can have your say and explore options to get the right outcome for the person the application is about. 

If you don’t come, we can make a decision that affects you or the person the application is about.

How much VCAT costs

There is generally no fee in a powers of attorney case.

You need to pay your own out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, parking or time off work.

Important

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

What happens next

1
You’ve received a notice from VCAT
2
Read and understand the documents

Carefully read and understand the notice and the application that involves you.

If you haven’t received documents from the applicant that support their application (for example, any medical reports or financial documents) within seven days of receiving the notice from us, contact the applicant directly. Their contact details are in the application.

If you need legal help and advice there are organisations that can help you

3
Understand how we make decisions

Wherever it’s possible, we promote supporting people to make decisions for themselves rather than having decisions made for them.

If this isn’t possible because a person doesn’t have decision making ability, we make decisions that:

  • are the least restrictive on the principal's ability to decide and act for themselves
  • ensure that the principal is given as much support as possible to be involved in decisions that will affect them.
4
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.

You must send all documents that support your case to the other parties and to VCAT.  If you are attending by phone or videoconference, make sure you do this by email and by the deadline we tell you in your notice.

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

You may also be asked to attend a mediation or compulsory conference if the case is about compensation.

5
Ask for any support services you need

We offer services such as interpreters and security, as well as disability, family violence and Koori support.

6
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.

If you are coming to VCAT 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 time for your hearing at Today’s hearings after 4.30pm on the day before your hearing.

7
On the day

There may be a directions hearing before the final hearing.  The notice we send you tells you what type of hearing you have.

For the final hearing, 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 have been acting as the attorney for a principal, you may be asked questions about things you did and decisions you made as their attorney.  Bring to the hearing any documents (for example, bank statements) that show how you have acted as an attorney.

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.)

If you are coming to VCAT in person

If you are coming to VCAT, find out about what to expect on the day – including how to behave, and how the hearing works.

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.

8
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.

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
     

  • What happens if you miss the hearing depends on if you’re the applicant or the respondent. 

    • If you’re the applicant and you don’t come to the hearing, the hearing can’t go ahead and your application may be dismissed or struck out
    • If you’re a respondent and you don’t come, VCAT may make a decision that affects you and can be enforced by a court.  For example, the member could make an order for costs against you. 

    If you have a good enough reason for not coming, and you didn’t have someone come for you, you may be able to apply for a review and rehearing (called ‘reopening an order’).  
     
    You need to make this application within 14 days of finding out about the order. There’s no guarantee that VCAT will agree. 

    Apply for a review and rehearing

  • We offer a range of support services including interpreters, disability, security, family violence and Koori support. 

    Make sure you let us know what support you need to early as possible - when you apply to VCAT or get a notice from us.

    If you’ve been in touch with us about support before you come to VCAT, see our customer service staff at the counter or meet the support person at the location you’ve agreed on before the hearing.

    If you are coming to VCAT at King Street, Melbourne and you need support or information, you can visit the free services on Level 5 before the hearing:

    • Court Network volunteers offer free and independent support, information and referral services. They don’t give legal advice.
    • Victoria Legal Aid duty lawyers can help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

    You can also contact us by phone, email, post or in person. Our staff can help answer questions about the VCAT process, but they can’t give you legal advice about your case or the outcome.

    Who you can bring to VCAT