A VCAT member presiding over a hearing may give a decision at the conclusion of a hearing, or reserve their decision and provide it to parties at a later date.
If a decision is reserved, we will usually give it to the parties within six to eight weeks from the last day of the hearing or from when final submissions are due, whichever is the later date.
There are several ways media can get a copy after the parties get their decision:
- Decisions with written reasons are generally published on the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website the day after the decision is released. Check first if the decision you want is there.
- If the case has attracted high levels of media or public interest, we may publish the decision, usually two hours after its release to parties. Find these decisions in our high profile decisions.
- If a decision is listed ‘for collection’ on our hearings list, our Strategic Communications team can provide a copy of the decision two hours after a formal decision hand-down for a fee of $72.30. This is the fee for corporate or standard fee payers, that is, if you do not have a Commonwealth Health Care Card. You will need to complete and submit the Media request form. We contact you to take payment.
- If the decision has not been listed ‘for collection’, but is sent to parties by email or post, the Strategic Communications team can let you know when it will be available.
Suppression orders and other restrictions on publication
There may be a suppression (non-publication) order on a decision, which can have varying levels of restriction, ranging from prohibiting any reporting of the case to allowing publication but not allowing identification of anyone involved.
In certain proceedings, VCAT may anonymise parties and other people involved in the case to protect the identity of witnesses, children or other vulnerable people. This generally happens in disciplinary matters in the Review and Regulation List (such as Working with Children Check review applications), and in the Human Rights and Guardianship Lists.
Decisions in the Guardianship List are public, but the identity of parties may not be published without an Order of VCAT. This order can be made under Schedule 1, Clause 37, confidentiality of proceedings of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998.
The Strategic Communications team can check if there are any orders restricting publication.