Firearms Act 1996 (review)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT can review certain decisions of the Chief Commissioner and the Firearms Appeals Committee made under the Firearms Act 1996.

Cases we can hear

If you are a person affected by the decision, 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 (VCAT cannot make an order to stay the operation of a firearm prohibition order that is under review)
  • a decision of the Firearms Appeals Committee
  • the failure of the Firearms Appeals Committee to make such a decision within a reasonable time.

Cases we cannot hear

Except for the specific decisions of the Chief Commissioner referred to above, 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.

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

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of it to your application.

Time limits

You may be able to apply for an extension to the time limits below.

Decision of the Chief Commissioner to make a firearm prohibition order

You must make your application within 28 days of the later of the day on which:

  • the firearm prohibition order was served on you, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

Other decision of the Chief Commissioner

You must make your application within 28 days after the later of the day on which:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

Decision of the Firearms Appeals Committee

You must make your application within 28 days after the later of the day on which:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

Further right of review of a firearm prohibition order

If you are 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 5 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. Please note that 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.

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 remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker Definition A person who makes or has made a decision under legislation that gives them this authority. giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

More about how we resolve your case

Read more about hearings at VCAT, professional representation, access and privacy and communicating with VCAT.