COVID safety measures for VCAT hearings

How we operate hearings under COVID safety settings.

What do I need to know if I’m going to VCAT in person?

You can go to VCAT if we told you to attend a hearing in person or have business at the service counter. You can only attend a face-to-face hearing if you’re involved in the case, for example, you’re a party, witness or support person.

You must wear a mask if you're coming to VCAT. Wearing a KN95 or surgical mask is a condition of entry, unless you have a medical exemption. Maintain physical distancing (1.5 metres) where possible.

Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before your hearing to get through security screening (similar to security at the airport) and find your hearing room.

At the security screening, VCAT staff will ask you some COVID-related questions such as whether you:

  • have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • should be isolating because you're awaiting COVID-19 test results or for any other reason
  • have recently been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Depending on your answers, you may not be allowed into VCAT. We'll make arrangements to re-schedule (adjourn) your hearing if any party in your case is denied entry for COVID-19 safety reasons.

We have hand sanitisers throughout the building to help you with hand hygiene.

Can I observe a hearing when I’m not a party in the case?

Hearings via phone or video conference

To observe a hearing, email us at least one business day before the hearing date. Give us details of the hearing you want to attend, such as the names of the parties and case number.

If the hearing is open to the public, you’ll receive instructions on how to join the phone or video conference.

Face-to-face hearings

Only parties, witnesses and support persons in the case may attend a hearing in person.

Anyone can request a recording or transcript of a hearing for a fee. You’ll have the option to obtain a copy after the hearing or on the same day for a higher charge. 

If any part of a hearing is confidential or under a suppression order, you can get an edited transcript. You won’t be able to obtain a recording.

How to request a recording or transcript

My case is being heard by phone or videoconference, what is the process?

VCAT will contact you to let you know the scheduled time for the hearing.

A phone hearing or videoconference is no different to a hearing in person, so ensure you are in a quiet location and have any relevant paperwork at hand.

Find out more information about what to expect on your hearing day.

Make sure you check upcoming hearings to keep up to date with your hearing time. Due to capacity issues, we may not be able to remind you when your upcoming hearing is.

How to join a phone or video conference

How do I join a phone or videoconference?

At VCAT we’re holding phone conferences or using the video platform Zoom for some hearings, mediations and compulsory conferences.

If we tell you to attend by phone and you want to change to a Zoom videoconference, contact us to ask.

How to join a phone or videoconference

Is VCAT still accepting new cases?

You can still apply about any matter that falls in VCAT's jurisdiction.

Do VCAT Practice Notes still apply?

Practice Notes are issued by the Rules Committee and are directives relating to the practice and procedure of the Tribunal and each of its Lists pursuant to s158 of the VCAT Act.

In any proceeding, the Tribunal may at its discretion vary the operation of a Practice Note by direction or order.

In any case, the Tribunal may be required to amend its practices to accommodate technological and procedural changes as a consequence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

If the Tribunal (or a List within the Tribunal) makes a change to its procedure by order or direction, the procedural change overrides a Practice Note to the extent of any inconsistency.

Can I still ask for a summons for a person to attend a hearing?

We can issue a summons at your request. The person summonsed will be required to attend the hearing, give evidence or produce documents.

A person summonsed may attend a VCAT hearing by audio or video link, and may deliver summonsed documents to VCAT electronically (eg. by email).

How to summons a witness