COVID safety measures when attending VCAT venues
How we're keeping you safe at VCAT and what you need to do.
What do I need to know if I’m going to VCAT in person?
We strongly recommend you wear a mask when you’re at VCAT. In hearing rooms, the VCAT member may ask you to wear or remove your mask during part or all of the hearing.
Maintain social distancing (1.5 metres) where possible.
We operate under a COVID Safe Plan. CovidSafe Monitors are on site and are inspecting our venues throughout the day.
Hand sanitisers are available throughout VCAT. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are on during all in-person hearings.
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, we will ask you some COVID-related questions such as whether you have:
- COVID-19 or any symptoms of COVID-19
- recently been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Depending on your answers, you may not be allowed into VCAT. If necessary, we'll decide whether alternative arrangements need to be made.
What happens if I find out I have COVID-19 in between my multi-day hearing?
Contact us and let us know if you have COVID-19. The VCAT member hearing your case will decide whether alternative arrangements need to be made.
What if I have health concerns about going to VCAT in person?
Tell us before your hearing if you have health concerns about attending a VCAT hearing in person and we'll consider how best to accommodate your needs.
Who do I contact if I test positive for COVID-19 before my in-person hearing?
Can I observe a hearing when I’m not a party in the case?
Hearings via phone or video conference
To observe a hearing being held by phone or video conference, 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.
Most of our hearings are open to the public. If you would like to see what happens at a hearing, you can sit and watch a VCAT hearing from the back of the hearing room. There is no fee for observing a hearing in person.
You can also request a recording or transcript of a hearing for a fee. You’ll have the option to obtain a copy after the hearing or, for a higher fee, on the same day.
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
Who’s a support person?You can bring someone with you to your hearing for support. This support person could be anyone you choose, including a friend or family member. They can’t usually speak on your behalf, but they can help explain what you need (for example, ask for a break).
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 documents.
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 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.
Given the current circumstances are existing timeframes for applications still relevant?
Yes, current application time limits are still relevant.
Do VCAT practice notes still apply?
Practice notes are issued by the Rules Committee and are directives relating to VCAT's practice and procedures, and each of its lists under section 158 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, VCAT 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 VCAT) 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).