Application to VCAT to make an original jurisdiction decision

Under some Acts of Parliament, the Review and Regulation List of VCAT has the power to hear cases under 'original jurisdiction' as well as review jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction means VCAT is the first instance decision-maker under the Act.

Legislation that applies to this case type

Name the Act in your application

When you complete the Application for Order form include the name of the relevant Act.

  • Make sure VCAT has the power to hear your application.  If you have received a letter from a decision-maker read the letter carefully – the application you need to make may be an application for review.

  • Complete the application for order form and pay any required fee. You must specify the relevant Act in your application. Time limits usually apply. Learn more about how to apply to start a case.

  • When VCAT receives the application we assign a reference number and send a copy of the application to 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 in the case. 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 use compulsory conferences to allow the parties to work together towards a settlement or agreed positions. We may schedule a compulsory conference ourselves or, more usually, the parties will ask us to schedule one. If we schedule a compulsory conference you will receive information about what you need to do to prepare for it. Read 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 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.

  • 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.  Read more about what to expect on hearing day.

  • The VCAT member may give their decision at the end of the hearing. If they need more time they normally give a decision within six weeks of the last hearing date. The VCAT member may give reasons for the decision orally at the hearing or in writing. If you want the reasons in writing, 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 in most cases regulatory bodies, government agencies and other decision-makers use legal representation. Read more about professional representation at VCAT.

Remember your reference number 

VCAT gives the parties 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, you can apply for confidentiality. In some cases, we will make an order under the Open Courts Act 2013 of our own initiative.  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.