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:

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.

  • Read the decision letter carefully to ensure you have the right to apply to VCAT for a review of the decision and to check any time limits.

  • Complete the application form and pay any required fee. You may have to pay a fee depending on the Act that applies to your case. You must specify the relevant Act in your application. Learn more about how to apply to start a case.

  • 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.

Professional representation 

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.

Legislation that applies to this case type

Accident Towing Services Act 2007

Adoption Act 1984

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992

Architects Act 1991

Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008

Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012

Biological Control Act 1986

Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996

Building Act 1993

Bus Safety Act 2009

Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003

Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Child Welfare Matters)

Children's Services Act 1996

Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013

Conveyancers Act 2006

Country Fire Authority Act 1958

Dairy Act 2000

Dangerous Goods Act 1985

Disability Act 2006

Domestic Animals Act 1994 - businesses

Domestic Animals Act 1994 - dangerous dog declarations

Domestic Animals Act 1994 - restricted breed dogs

Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 - low THC cannabis

Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 - poppy cultivation

Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010

Education and Training Reform Act 2006

Electoral Act 2002

Electrical Safety Act 1998

Emergency Management Act 1986

Emergency Services Superannuation Act 1986

Equipment (Public Safety) Act 1994

Estate Agents Act 1980

Firearms Act 1996

Freedom of Information Act 1982

Fundraising Act 1998

Gas Safety Act 1997

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009

Health Services Act 1998

Livestock Disease Control Act 1994

Local Government Act 1989

Major Sporting Events Act 2009

Marine Safety Act 2010

Meat Industry Act 1993

Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958

Motor Car Traders Act 1986

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007

Owners Corporation Act 2006

Parliamentary Salaries and Superannuation Act 1968

Pharmacy Regulation Act 2010

Pipelines Act 2005

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Private Security Act 2004

Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Act 1985

Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008

Racing Act 1958

Rail Safety (Local Operations) Act 2006 and Rail Safety National Law

Relationships Act 2008

Road Management Act 2004

Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009

Seafood Safety Act 2003

Second-Hand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 1989

Sex Work Act 1994 

State Employees Retirement Benefits Act 1979 

State Superannuation Act 1988 

Superannuation (Portability) Act 1989

Surveying Act 2004

Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010 

Therapeutic Goods (Victoria) Act 2010 

Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 

Transport Accident Act 1986

Transport Superannuation Act 1988

Veterinary Practice Act 1997 

Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 

Victoria State Emergency Service Act 2005 

Victoria State Emergency Service Regulations 2006 

Victorian Plantation Corporation Act 1993 

Wildlife Act 1975 

Working with Children Act 2005