Your privacy and access to information
How we protect your privacy, and about your rights to access a hearing, recording, transcript and case files.
The way VCAT handles your information is based on the legal principle that justice should usually be administered in public, with principles of privacy.
This means there is a balance between the information we must share and keeping your information confidential.
- We store information about people who have been involved in cases at VCAT. This can include names, addresses and phone numbers
- If you give information to us for a case we are hearing, the law generally requires it to be given to the other parties in the case (unless it's protected information).
- If you want to provide information to us in confidence you must first apply for confidentiality
- Most VCAT hearings are open to the public, including journalists
- People who are not part of the case can apply to see VCAT files
- VCAT written decisions for some case types are published on the AustLII website
- Confidentiality is a priority in guardianship cases. We decide what access to information is given, who to and on what conditions.
All information you give us for your case is available to anyone who looks at the case file or attends the hearing, including media.
They might get information like your name, contact details and personal information.
By law, with some limited exceptions, we must share information that you give us for your case with other parties. This includes your documents and evidence.
But it’s illegal to publish or broadcast information that could identify a party in a guardianship, powers of attorney or medical treatment case, unless we make an exception.
You can ask us at the start of the case to keep your information confidential. We may not agree to this request.
VCAT hearings are usually open to the public, including the media. At VCAT mediation and compulsory conferences are held in private.
Anyone can apply to view a VCAT file, or ask for a copy of the decision. Some types of case files are not available to access.
The names of the people attending a hearing are also published in Upcoming hearings
Sometimes a member can order a hearing or file to be closed - for example, to protect children or witnesses.
If you want your hearing to be held in private, or your name or the name of a witness not to be made public, ask us in writing before the hearing or at the beginning of the hearing. Our ability to approve these requests is limited by law.
You can look at most VCAT files at our Melbourne office at 55 King Street, Melbourne if you arrange it with us. If you’re not part of the case then you must pay a fee.
If your request is approved, you look at the file in a private room with security cameras. You can’t remove any documents, but you can take photos with your phone, or buy a photocopy card for $2 from our Customer Service counter and make copies for 60 cents a page.
1. Download the form
Download the File and Document Access Request form or PDF and send it to us (see the last page for instructions).
If you’re a journalist, download the Media Request form and send it to us.
2. Make a booking
Bookings are for 1 hour, Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4pm. Call us on 1300 01 8228 or email us.
Find the right email address for your type of case
(If you need more than one hour or want to bring more than two people with you, let us know when you book.)
3. Pay the fee (if it applies to you)
If you’re not part of the case you need to pay a fee.
|Fees for other services
|View a file where the person isn't a party
(fee per file)
Pay when you come to VCAT between 9am - 4pm with:
- credit card - MasterCard or Visa
- a bank cheque, solicitor firm cheque or money order - made out to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. We don’t accept personal cheques.
You can look at most VCAT files at our Melbourne office at 55 King Street, Melbourne if you arrange it with us. If you’re not part of the case then you pay a fee.
In residential tenancy cases you can access documents for free if you’re:
- a party in the case (applicant or respondent)
- representing a party at the hearing – for example, you are the renter’s representative or the rental provider’s estate agent
- advising or assisting a party who has given you permission to access documents on their behalf.
I’m mentioned in an application about guardians, administrators or powers of attorney. Can I see the file?
Everyone mentioned in an application can come to the hearing, including ‘interested persons’.
You can ask to see the entire VCAT file. We give you access unless there’s a good reason to refuse, like the need to keep sensitive personal information private or the potential to cause another person harm.
We may ask the other parties for their views before deciding to give access. It’s an offence under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 to publish or broadcast any material that identifies a party in a case under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986.