Mental Health

VCAT can review decisions made by the Mental Health Tribunal under the Mental Health Act 2014. We hear and decide these cases in our Human Rights List Definition A List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. .

The Mental Health Act 2014 establishes procedures for assessing people who appear to have a mental illness and treating people who have a mental illness. The Mental Health Tribunal determines whether all the criteria for mental health treatment in the Act applies to a person. If the criteria do apply, the Mental Health Tribunal may make a compulsory treatment order. The Mental Health Tribunal may make an order for a person to receive electroconvulsive treatment if it is satisfied that the person does not have the capacity to consent to the treatment or they are under the age of 18 years.

VCAT can hear and determine applications to review these decisions by the Mental Health Tribunal.

The Act contains mental health principles that emphasise the provision of assessment and treatment in the least restrictive way possible, with voluntary assessment and treatment preferred. The rights, dignity and autonomy of the person receiving mental health treatment are emphasised by the Act.

Time limits

You must apply for a review within 20 business days of the day the Mental Health Tribunal made the decision or of the day you received the reasons for the decision.

Before you apply

Any person who was a party in the Mental Health Tribunal hearing can apply to VCAT to review the tribunal's decision.

There is no fee for this type of application.


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?

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. 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.

Legislation that applies to this type of case