Application for review of a decision

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. 

Under some Acts of Parliament, VCAT has the power to review – reconsider – decisions made by an original decision-maker such as a government agency, a statutory authority or other Administrative decision-maker.

When making a decision on review, VCAT has all the powers of the original decision-maker as well as the additional powers outlined in the relevant Act of Parliament and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998.

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 giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

Read the decision letter

Usually, the decision-maker sends you a decision letter outlining details of the decision including reasons. The decision letter should tell you if you have the right to apply for a review of the decision at VCAT and the Act that applies. If the decision letter does not tell you that you can apply to VCAT, we may not have the power to hear your case. If you don't have a copy of the decision letter request a copy from the decision-maker. We will ask you for it before we process your application. 

Name the Act in your application

When you complete the application for review form include the name of the relevant Act.

The most common Acts for which we receive review applications are:

See all Acts in which we have the power to review decisions made.

Putting the original decision on hold

Applying for a review does not put the original decision on hold. In most cases, the original decision stands until we make a decision. In some cases, we can make a stay order, which is an order that places the original decision on hold. If you want the original decision put on hold you must ask for this by ticking the ‘stay’ box on the application form. You should also ask the decision-maker if they will agree to a stay.

Before you apply

For most applications for review of a decision, there are time limits. Carefully check the time limit on your decision letter.

See how long your VCAT case may take to resolve.

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 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 case type

  • When VCAT receives your application for review we assign a reference number and send a copy of the application to the decision-maker, who will be the respondent Definition The party against whom orders or relief is sought by an applicant. in the case. The respondent receives a covering letter and a complete copy of the application. We may schedule a directions hearing or make preliminary orders setting a timetable for steps to be taken to prepare the case for hearing Definition The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. . Remember the reference number and always use it when you write to us. Learn more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.

  • In the Review and Regulation 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. we frequently use compulsory conferences to allow the parties to work together towards a settlement. If you have been told to attend a compulsory conference Definition Compulsory conferences are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of a VCAT member. , you should prepare an opening statement. Use the opening statement to clearly state your case and what you hope to achieve. It can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the parties. You also need to think about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the other party Definition A 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. ’s case. See more about how to resolve a case by agreement.

  • At the final hearing Definition The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. the VCAT member Definition A person who hears and decides cases at VCAT. Some members are specialists in particular areas of law. decides the case based on the law, witness statements and the evidence witnesses give at the hearing, and documents presented, and takes into account submissions the parties make. Start your preparation in plenty of time to present the best possible case. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.

    For information about our accessibility services and other support services, see customer support at VCAT.

  • On any hearing day always arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. When your case is called, move into the hearing room if you are not already sitting in the hearing room. Be ready to present your case. Read more about what to expect on hearing day

  • The VCAT member may give their decision orally at the end of the hearing. If they are giving their decision in writing they normally send out the decision within six weeks of the last hearing date. If you want the reasons in writing, it is preferable to ask on the day and in any event make the request within 14 days of the hearing date. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.