Application for review of a decision
This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
Under some Acts of Parliament, VCAT has the power to review – reconsider – decisions made by an original decision-maker such as a government agency, a statutory authority or other Administrative decision-maker.
When making a decision on review, VCAT has all the powers of the original decision-maker as well as the additional powers outlined in the relevant Act of Parliament and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998.
Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:
- affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision-maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.
Read the decision letter
Usually, the decision-maker sends you a decision letter outlining details of the decision including reasons. The decision letter should tell you if you have the right to apply for a review of the decision at VCAT and the Act that applies. If the decision letter does not tell you that you can apply to VCAT, we may not have the power to hear your case. If you don't have a copy of the decision letter request a copy from the decision-maker. We will ask you for it before we process your application.
Name the Act in your application
When you complete the application for review form include the name of the relevant Act.
The most common Acts for which we receive review applications are:
- Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996
- Building Act 1993
- Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Child Welfare Matters)
- Domestic Animals Act 1994
- Freedom of Information Act 1982
- Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009
- Private Security Act 2004
- Racing Act 1958
- Transport Accident Act 1986
- Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983
- Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996
- Working with Children Act 2005
See a list of all Acts in which we have the power to review decisions made.
Putting the original decision on hold
Applying for a review does not put the original decision on hold. In most cases, the original decision stands until we make a decision. In some cases, we can make a stay order, which is an order that places the original decision on hold. If you want the original decision put on hold you must ask for this by ticking the ‘stay’ box on the application form. You should also ask the decision-maker if they will agree to a stay.
When VCAT receives your application for review we assign a reference number and send a copy of the application to the decision-maker, who will be the respondent in the case. The respondent receives a covering letter and a complete copy of the application. We may schedule a directions hearing or make preliminary orders setting a timetable for steps to be taken to prepare the case for hearing. Remember the reference number and always use it when you write to us. Learn more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.
In the Review and Regulation List we frequently use compulsory conferences to allow the parties to work together towards a settlement. If you have been told to attend a compulsory conference, you should prepare an opening statement. Use the opening statement to clearly state your case and what you hope to achieve. It can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the parties. You also need to think about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the other party’s case. See more about how to resolve a case by agreement.
At the final hearing the VCAT member decides the case based on the law, witness statements and the evidence witnesses give at the hearing, and documents presented, and takes into account submissions the parties make. Start your preparation in plenty of time to present the best possible case. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.
For information about our accessibility services and other support services, see customer support at VCAT.
On any hearing day always arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. When your case is called, move into the hearing room if you are not already sitting in the hearing room. Be ready to present your case. Read more about what to expect on hearing day
The VCAT member may give their decision orally at the end of the hearing. If they are giving their decision in writing they normally send out the decision within six weeks of the last hearing date. If you want the reasons in writing, it is preferable to ask on the day and in any event make the request within 14 days of the hearing date. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.
You should consider whether you want to be represented by a lawyer or professional representative at VCAT or not. Be aware that most decision-makers choose to use legal representation. Read more about professional representation at VCAT.
Remember your reference number
VCAT gives you a reference number for your case. Use this number whenever you contact us or the other people involved in the case.
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, can make orders to restrict access to hearings and files. Learn more about applying for confidentiality.
If you are involved in a matter and you want to see VCAT’s file, you need to make a request in writing for access. A VCAT member may consider your request. We will notify you of the outcome.
If you need assistance at VCAT (including interpreters, hearing loop, video or telephone links, or family violence support) please contact us as early as possible so we can assist you. Learn more about customer support at VCAT.