Apply for VCAT's consent for a special medical procedure

VCAT can consent to a special medical procedure being carried out on a person with a disability Definition A condition that restricts a person's physical or mental capacity to interact in their environment. Disability can be temporary, situational or permanent. who is incapable of giving their own consent. This does not apply to emergency treatment, which may be carried out without consent.

We can consider applications regardless of whether the person is the subject of a current guardianship or administration order.

A guardian Definition A person who makes personal lifestyle decisions on behalf of someone with a disability, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment and access to people and services. or the medical treatment decision maker Definition A person who has the authority to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of another person. cannot consent to a special procedure.

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.

A patient is considered incapable of consenting to a special medical procedure if:

  • they are incapable of understanding the general nature and effect of the procedure
  • they are incapable of indicating whether or not they consent to the procedure.

What we can do

If we receive an application, we can decide to give consent for a special medical procedure to be carried out on a person with a disability who is incapable of giving their own consent.

What we cannot do

We would not make an order for consent if the patient is likely to be capable, within a reasonable time, of giving their own consent.

Before you apply

You must provide evidence that the patient is incapable of giving consent to the proposed procedure. You must give a copy of your application and supporting documents to the person, as well as their primary carer, nearest relative, the proposed/existing guardian or administrator.


There are no application or hearing fees.

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 free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

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. For more about applying for confidentiality.