Firearms Act 1996 (review)
VCAT can review certain decisions of the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police and the Firearms Appeals Committee made under the Firearms 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.
Firearms Act 1996 established:
- a system of licensing and regulation about the business of dealing in firearms
- a system of permitting and regulation of the acquisition and disposal of firearms and related items
- a system of registering firearms
- requirements for the secure storage and carriage of firearms
- the Firearms Appeals Committee to hear applications for the review of certain decisions of the Chief Commissioner under the Act.
Cases we can hear
If you are a person affected by the following decisions, you may be able to apply to VCAT for a review of:
- a decision of the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner not to issue, not to renew or to cancel a licence to a non-prohibited person (who is not a fit and proper person) based on known criminal activities
- a decision of the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner to make a firearm prohibition order
- a decision of the Firearms Appeals Committee
- the failure of the Firearms Appeals Committee to make such a decision within a reasonable time.
Further right of review of a firearm prohibition order
If you're affected by a firearm prohibition order, you may apply to VCAT for a further review of the decision to make the order, while the order is in effect, provided that more than half the time since the order was made has elapsed (section 112M of the Act). For example, if the firearm prohibition order was made for five years, at least 2.5 years must have elapsed.
You may make a further application for review of the firearm prohibition order, whether or not you applied for a review at VCAT when the order was first made. A further review can only be made once during the operation of a firearm prohibition order.
VCAT cannot make an order to stay the operation of a firearm prohibition order that is under a further review.
Cases we can't help with
Except for specific decisions of the Chief Commissioner referred to under 'Cases we can hear', you must apply to the Firearms Appeals Committee if you want a review of other decisions from the Chief Commissioner under the Firearms Act 1996. Be aware that time limits apply.
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
Sections 34(2), 44(2), 50(2), 112L, 112M and 182 of the Firearms Act 1996
Documents you need to apply
You need to provide a copy of the decision letter from the Chief Commissioner or Firearms Appeals Committee with your application.
You must apply within 28 days of the later of these events:
- the day the decision was made or firearm prohibition order was given to you
- if you requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, the day the statement of reasons was given to you or 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 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.
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.