Voluntary assisted dying
In Victoria, a person in the late stages of a terminal illness can request access to medication that will end their life at a time they choose. This is called voluntary assisted dying.
A co-ordinating medical practitioner and consulting medical practitioner must approve the person's request. To access voluntary assisted dying, the two doctors must agree that the person and their circumstances meet strict eligibility criteria under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017.
If you do not agree with a decision made by either doctor, you can apply to VCAT to review the decision.
What we can do
VCAT can review some decisions doctors make as part of assessing a person’s eligibility to access voluntary assisted dying.
These include decisions about whether they met any of the following criteria:
- They usually live in Victoria.
- They were usually a resident of Victoria for at least 12 months at the time of making their first request for access to voluntary assisted dying.
- They have capacity to make a decision about voluntary assisted dying.
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.
Who can apply?
You can apply for a review if you are one of the following:
- the person who requested access to voluntary assisted dying (the person who is the subject of the decision)
- an agent of the person who is the subject of the decision
- anyone who VCAT is satisfied has a special interest in the medical treatment and care of that person.
We may reject an application if we do not believe the applicant has a special interest in the affairs of the person who is the subject of the decision.
Documents you need to apply
- Reports and documents from the co-ordinating doctor and consulting doctor about their decisions
- Documents that support your claim to be an agent of the person who is the subject of the decision (if applicable)
- Documents that support your claim to be a person with a special interest in the medical treatment and care of the person who is the subject of the decision (if applicable)
There are no application or hearing fees.
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.
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 want a lawyer or professional advocate to represent you, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
Under the law, no-one can publish or broadcast a report identifying any party in a case about voluntary assisted dying, unless we order it. There are penalties for doing this.
Also, applications for review of a decision under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 may be subject to orders under the Open Courts Act 2013. This will mean that hearings will generally be closed to the public. Personal and sensitive information will be kept confidential, including the names of parties.