What to do when things change

How to settle before VCAT, change or withdraw your application, change a hearing date.

How do I change my VCAT application?

To change your VCAT application you need to ask before the final hearing for the change to be made.

We can’t always make every type of change to every type of case. For example, if what you're asking is something we cannot deal with or a time limit has passed.

We usually accept changes to your contact details before your hearing. If you're asking to change a name or the details of your claim, you may have to wait until you go to a hearing to find out if we can accept it.

  1. Tell us what you want to change (for example, contact details) and your reasons in writing, by post or by email.
    Find the right email address for your type of case or send a written letter to GPO Box 5408, Melbourne VIC 3000
  2. Include the application reference number and any documents that support the change.
  3. Tell the other person or business (the other ‘party’) about the change in writing, and send them copies of any new documents.

VCAT must review and accept your change and we’ll tell you the outcome. 

Sometimes we’ll arrange a brief session called a ‘directions hearing’ to work out if we’ll allow the change. This often happens when the other person or business involved (the respondent) has a problem with the change.

Planning cases

If you are the permit applicant and want to change your application, you need to send the notice and complete the Statement of Service to confirm you’ve shared your documents. 

To find the right contact details relevant to your dispute, see Contacts and locations.

See also: Can I change the amount I’m claiming in my application?

Can I change the amount I'm claiming in my application?

You can change the amount of money you want to claim in some dispute types like goods and services disputes or building and construction.

If the change is for a large amount more money, you could have to pay a higher fee or the case could be delayed (adjourned).

Fill in the Application for directions hearings or orders form

Mail or email the completed form to VCAT.

To find the right contact details relevant to your dispute, see Contacts and locations

What happens if we come to an agreement before attending VCAT?

You can contact the other party (or they can contact you) at any time to try to come to an agreement before the hearing. If you do reach an agreement, you and the other parties must let us know in writing, and copy in the other party, as soon as possible. 

If you make an offer to settle and you want to keep it confidential, make it in writing to the other party and use the words ‘without prejudice’ in your offer. 

This means that if your offer is not accepted by the other party, it cannot be discussed at a hearing. 

You can try and resolve the dispute without VCAT right up until the day of the hearing, and for residential tenancy disputes, in the hearing.

After you settle, if you’re the applicant you can end your case by asking us:

  • to withdraw your application
  • to strike out your case with the right to apply for reinstatement (except in a review of a planning decision) 
  • for consent orders. 

Learn more about how you can settle a dispute outside VCAT

Can I cancel my application?

If you are the applicant, you can ask for permission to withdraw your VCAT application at any time before the hearing, for example, if you change your mind. You must let us and the other parties know in writing as soon as possible if you want to apply to withdraw. 

For some case types if you are the applicant you may have to pay costs to the respondent if you withdraw your claim. 

If you do withdraw your application, in most cases it can’t be reinstated. (This doesn’t apply in cases about guardians, administratrators, and powers of attorney for example.) You may be able to start a new application about the same dispute later. There will be new fees to pay and we may not accept your application.

Read more about how to withdraw your application

Cases about guardians, administrators, supportive guardians and supportive administrators

If you want to withdraw your application in a case about guardians, administrators, supportive guardians and supportive administrators:

  • Write to us, explaining why orders are no longer needed.
  • We consider whether there is any serious risk to the person you made the application about. This is because the law requires us to protect a person who may have a decision-making disability.

Even if an application has been withdrawn, the applicant or anyone else is able to make another application about the same circumstances at any later time.

Can I add someone to an application?

If you believe someone is missing from the application and they have a role, you can apply to add them. This is called 'joining a party'.  
There are time limits for applying to join a party to a case, depending on the type of case.  
To add someone to an your application: 

  • Give us the details of the person or business and your reasons in writing using the Application for Directions Hearings or Orders form.
  • Find the right email address for your type of case to email us, or write to GPO Box 5408, Melbourne VIC 3000. 
  • Include the application reference number and any documents that support the change when you write to us 
  • Send a copy of the application to the person or business you want to add to the application. 

VCAT must review and accept your change for them to be joined. If your change is accepted we’ll let you know by written order.   
Choose your case type to find out more about joining someone to a VCAT case

Can I get the hearing venue changed in a case about guardians and administrators?

In a case about guardianship or administration, the interests of the person with a disability are the most important.

You can ask for the hearing venue to be changed. But when we make a decision the most important factor is making sure the venue is easiest to attend for the person the application is about (the represented person or proposed represented person). We don’t always agree.

Find out about VCAT locations