Fees at VCAT
When you come to VCAT, you may need to pay an application fee, a hearing fee, or a fee for other VCAT services. Fees are set by the Victorian Government and are updated on 1 July each year.
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What are the different fee categories?
VCAT’s fees are set by the Victorian Government.
We charge fees at VCAT in three categories:
- concession (Health Care Card).
When you automatically pay no fees
You don’t have to pay fees if you are:
- represented by Victoria Legal Aid or a community legal centre
- under 18 years of age
- in a prison or other public institution
- a protected person or affected family member in a residential tenancies case.
Who pays the ‘standard’ fee rate?
People and businesses who pay the standard rate include:
- sole trader businesses
- businesses set up as a partnership
- businesses with a turnover of less than $200,000 in the last financial year
- not-for-profit organisations.
If your company wants to apply as a standard fee payer, you need to provide a statutory declaration with your application that proves your turnover is less than $200,000.
Who pays the ‘corporate’ rate?
Businesses with a turnover of more than $200,000 in the last full financial year pay the corporate fee rate.
For example, if you apply in April 2020, use the turnover from the 2018/19 financial year.
Schools and government organisations are part of this fee category.
Who pays the ‘concession’ rate?
VCAT fees are lower if you have a Health Care Card issued by the Federal Government. This is the only card we accept for concession fees.
If you have another type of concession card, you don’t get a concession rate, but you may be eligible for fee relief. This means your fees could be waived, reduced or postponed.
If you don’t fit the standard fee payer or a concession fee payer categories, you are automatically categorised as a corporate fee payer (for example, a school or a government department or agency.)
When you make an application tell us what type of fee payer you are and provide proof of your status.
The fee payer level applies to any fees payable throughout your case. You must apply separately for each case you want to bring to VCAT.
If your financial circumstances or applicant type changes, your fees may change too.
Your fee payer type may change if:
- your financial circumstances change. For example, if you get a Health Care Card.
- you change your application to apply as a different person. For example, if you want to apply under your business name and not as an individual.
Tell us in writing about these changes. Make sure you include a copy of any relevant documents to prove this.
What can I do if I can’t pay the fees?
You automatically don’t need to pay any fees if you meet certain criteria.
For everyone else, if you believe paying VCAT fees would cause you financial hardship, you can apply for fee relief at the same time you apply to VCAT.
If we agree, this means we may:
- waive the fee
- reduce the amount you have to pay
- postpone the amount you have to pay.
Any individual can apply for fee relief, including people who don’t have a concession card, but you must meet eligibility criteria. We’ll ask you to give us a summary of your personal financial situation to support your application.
You only need to apply once. Our decision applies to all VCAT fees you’re asked to pay in your case.
How do I pay my VCAT hearing fee?
We tell you in writing if you must pay hearing fees. This includes what the fee per day is, if your hearing will take more than one day.
You must pay before the hearing. If you don’t, your hearing may be postponed (adjourned).
If your hearing is estimated to go for several days, we recommend you pay for the following hearing day only. This is so you can avoid overpaying.
You can pay VCAT hearing fees online, by phone, in person or by post.
If you pay using a credit card, we accept only Mastercard or Visa.
You can pay hearing fees online with a credit card from 4.30pm the day before your hearing.
Call 1300 01 8228 (1300 01 VCAT) to pay with a credit card (9am - 4.30pm).
Pay in person at 55 King Street, Melbourne between 9am - 4.30pm with:
- credit card or EFTPOS
- a bank cheque, solicitor firm cheque or money order, made out to the ‘Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’. We don’t accept personal cheques.
When you pay by post:
- download and fill out the credit card payment form, OR
- make out a bank cheque, solicitor firm cheque or money order to the ‘Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’. We don’t accept personal cheques.
Send your payment to GPO Box 5408, Melbourne VIC 3001
What other fees could I be charged?
We provide services that support you to prepare for and come to VCAT.
These include when you want to:
- ask us to issue a summons to witness or produce documents
- view a VCAT file when you’re not a party in a VCAT case
- photocopy anything while at VCAT
- use video conferencing for a mediation, compulsory conference or hearing
- view the VCAT register
- become a party and take part in the case (make your own application)
- make an application to ask for costs from another party after we’ve finalised your case
- make an application for a rehearing of your case after we’ve made a decision (reopen an order)
- transfer a case from the Magistrates’ Court to VCAT
- make an application to stop somebody doing something immediately (injunction)
- in planning cases, submit a statement of grounds
- issue a warrant to evict a renter from a residential property.
Who pays for my legal costs?
At VCAT, parties are expected to pay their own costs, unless we order otherwise.
VCAT may only award costs if it is fair to do so.
If you would like someone else to pay your legal costs, tell the VCAT member overseeing your case during the hearing.
Examples of circumstances where an order for costs may be made include:
- where a matter was brought to VCAT without much merit
- where a matter was brought to VCAT to harass, annoy or distress someone
- where a matter was brought to VCAT without a serious purpose
- where someone has unreasonably prolonged a hearing
- where someone deceived VCAT or others involved in a case
- where the application made is not well supported, such as by fact or law.
Section 109 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Act 1998 governs VCAT's power to award costs.
See also: Should I get a lawyer?
Can I get a refund?
You can apply for a refund if you have:
- paid a fee more than once
- paid a higher fee than you should have
- withdrawn your application soon after you applied.
If you withdraw, you may not get your application fee refunded. For example, if we have progressed your application and are ready for a mediation or hearing.
You can’t ask for a refund because you don’t get the outcome you want.