Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (review)
VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages under the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996.
This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 establishes the framework for the registration of births, deaths, marriages and name changes in Victoria. The Act also outlines recordkeeping about donor and surrogacy arrangements and the alternation of the record of sex in a birth registration.
Cases we can hear
You may be able to apply to VCAT for a review if you're a person whose interests are affected by a decision of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages about:
- registration of a birth
- the name of a child
- change of a person’s name
- change of a child’s name
- alteration of the record of a person’s sex
- registration of marriage
- registration of death
- correction and amendment of the Register
- issue of a certificate
- access to the Register.
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
- cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Section 52 of Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996
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 make your application within 28 days from when:
- the decision was made, or
- if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the date the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not 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 doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension
What can VCAT order?
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 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 decision under review on hold
In most cases, applying for a review does not put the original decision on hold, and that decision stands until VCAT has made 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.
It may not be possible to put the decision on hold if there would be no practical effect in doing so.
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 can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want 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.