Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012
VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Registrar of Incorporated Associations or by the secretary of an incorporated association under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012.
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.
The Act establishes a scheme for the incorporation and registration of voluntary associations and for the registration of other bodies as incorporated associations. The Act also sets out the corporate governance, financial accountability, and rules and membership of associations registered under the scheme.
Cases we can hear
You may be able to apply to VCAT if you are a person or incorporated association affected by a decision by the Registrar of Incorporated Associations:
- to refuse to register an association
- to refuse to register a registrable body (for example, a company limited by guarantee, a co-operative, society, association, etc.)
- to direct an incorporated association to apply to be registered or incorporated as a prescribed body corporate
- to release personal information on the basis it is in the public interest to do so
- to grant or refuse to grant an exemption from the requirement to permit a member to inspect the register of members
- to revoke or refuse to revoke an exemption.
You may be able to apply to VCAT if you are a person affected by a decision of the secretary of an incorporated association:
- to refuse to restrict access to your personal information recorded in the register of members.
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Sections 7, 13, 59, 59, 59A, 59B, 111 and 195 of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012
Documents you need to apply
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
You must apply within 28 days of the relevant notification:
- if your application to register an association has been refused
- if your application to register a registrable body has been refused
- if the secretary of an incorporated association has refused to restrict access to your personal information.
If the Registrar has directed the registration of, or incorporation of, a prescribed body corporate, you must apply within 28 days of the notice of the direction being received by the association.
If the Registrar has decided to restrict public access to some personal information, or decided to release some of the personal information, you must apply within 28 days of the later of these events:
- the date the notice of decision was given
- the day on which a statement of reasons was given
- the day on which you were informed that no reasons would be given.
If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the ‘extension of time’ question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any extension. If the decision maker does not agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.
What can VCAT order?
Unless the Act 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 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.
Putting the original decision on hold
In most cases, applying for a review does not put the original decision on hold and that decision stands until VCAT makes its decision.
If you want the original decision put on hold, you must ask for this by indicating you want a ‘stay’ on the application form and briefly explaining why you are seeking a stay.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any stay. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant a stay.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Make an application
You may have to pay a fee to apply to VCAT to review a decision. Learn more about fees or apply for fee relief.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
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, you can apply for confidentiality.