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 disabilityDefinitionA 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 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 guardianDefinitionA 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 makerDefinitionA person who has the authority to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of another person. cannot consent to a special procedure.

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 support your claim that the patient is incapable of giving consent to the proposed procedure by providing a copy of a recent medical report.

You must also 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. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.

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 claim.

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.