Apply for VCAT's consent for a special medical procedure

Sometimes, a patient with disabilityDefinitionA condition that restricts a person's physical or mental capacity to interact in their environment. Disability can be temporary, situational or permanent. is unable to give their own consent to undergo a special medical procedure because they do not have decision-making capacity.

If you know a person with disability who cannot give their own consent, you may apply to VCAT to decide whether the special medical procedure should be carried out.

A special medical procedure includes:

  • any procedure intended or reasonably likely to make the patient permanently infertile
  • termination of a pregnancy
  • any removal of tissue for transplantation to another person
  • any other medical treatment relating to the diagnosis of a physical or mental condition, disease prevention, restoration or replacement of bodily function due to disease or injury, physical or surgical therapy, treatment for mental illness, use of prescription medicine or palliative care.

A patient does not have decision-making capacity when any of the following applies:

  • they are unable to understand and remember information relevant to making a decision
  • they cannot use or communicate that information to make a decision
  • they cannot express their views or needs.

The person's disability may be a neurological impairment, intellectual impairment, mental disorder, brain injury, physical disability or dementia.

We can consider applications regardless of whether the patient has a current guardianship or administration arrangement.

A medical treatment decision makerDefinitionA person who has the authority to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of another person. cannot consent to a special medical procedure unless they apply to VCAT and we give them authority.

What we can do

  • Give consent for the special medical procedure
  • Give the patient's medical treatment decision maker the authority to consent to continuing treatment
  • Transfer authority to consent to continuing treatment – from the patient's previous medical treatment decision maker to their new medical treatment decision maker

What we cannot do

  • We would not make an order for consent if the person is likely to be capable, within a reasonable time, of giving their own consent.
  • We do not make decisions about emergency treatment, which may be carried out without consent.

Before you apply

You must support your claim that the person does not have decision-making capacity to give consent by providing a copy of a recent medical report.

The medical report must include an assessment of the person's disability, and how it affects their decision-making capacity when it comes to consenting to the special medical procedure.

You need to provide a full medical report about the disability, not a medical certificate.

Download a medical report template and give this to a medical practitioner to complete.

If you have difficulty obtaining the report from a medical practitioner, contact us.

Documents you need to apply

Provide a copy of the following:

  • a recent medical report
  • a refusal of treatment certificate (if the patient previously refused the treatment when they had decision-making capacity)
  • an instructional directive (if the person with disability has one).


There are no application or hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. fees.

How to apply

Apply online to save your progress and keep track of your application.

Alternatively, download our PDF form (419 kB).

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 wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

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 situation.

Access and privacy

All information you give VCAT for your case is available to anyone who inspects the case file or attends the hearing, including media. They might get information like your name, contact details and personal information.

By law, with limited exceptions, VCAT must share information that you provide for your case with other parties. This includes your documents and evidence. But it is illegal to publish or broadcast information that could identify a partyDefinitionA person or organisation directly involved in a VCAT case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before VCAT or who is defending claims made against them. in a guardianship, powers of attorney or medical treatment case, unless VCAT makes an exception.

You can ask VCAT at the start of the case to keep your information confidential. VCAT may not agree to this request.

For more information, see our privacy policy.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Guardianship and Administration Act 2019