You can apply to view most VCAT files. If you are not a party to the case, there is a fee.
When applying for file access, you need to give us one of these:
- names of all parties to the proceeding
- VCAT reference number
- property address, if the case is about land. For example, a planning, building or land valuation dispute.
VCAT may decide to notify the parties about your request and, if they object, schedule a directions hearing to decide whether to grant your request.
Occasionally there may be restrictions. By law, Freedom of Information files are not available for inspection.
The Strategic Communications team arranges file inspections for media.
Not a journalist?
Apply for access to a VCAT document or file by using the file and document access request form.
File inspection fees
VCAT fees are set by the Victorian Government.
- There is a fee of $120 to view a file if you are a corporate or standard fee payer, that is, if you don't have a Commonwealth Health Care Card. This fee applies to anyone who is not a party in the proceeding.
- Photocopying of file content is available for a fee of 60c per page, plus $2 for a photocopy card. You can also take photos of the file content with an electronic device for the purpose of researching a story, for free. Copies and photos of file material must not be published, shared or distributed without VCAT's permission.
Arrange a file inspection
Tell us when you want to inspect the file, so we can book the file inspection room. Up to two people can inspect files at the same time. The file inspection room is on the ground floor, 55 King Street, Melbourne, next to the Customer Service Centre. Once you arrive, make yourself known to our customer service staff, pay the fee and they will show you to the file inspection room. The Customer Service Centre is open from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday. File inspection must finish no later than 4.30 pm.
For document security, there is CCTV surveillance in and around the file inspection room. For Guardianship and Human Rights List files, a staff member will be in attendance during the inspection.
It is generally not possible to view the file immediately, due to the availability of the file inspection room or staff, whether the file is in use by staff or members, and the requirement for members to approve files for inspection. Files kept on site can usually be made available within 24 hours. Allow at least three business days for archived files to arrive from our off-site storage facility. Let us know if your deadlines are more urgent.
In certain circumstances, media can arrange to inspect a file at regional and suburban VCAT venues on the day of the hearing. Ask the Strategic Communications team.
Photocopying of file content is available for a fee. You can also take photos of the file content with an electronic device for the purpose of researching a story. Copies and photos of file material must not be published, shared or distributed without VCAT's permission.
Files must be returned to the Customer Service Centre in the same order and condition in which you received them. Material must not be removed from the file or from its cover.
Restrictions on file access and publication
Sometimes there may be an order under section 146 of the VCAT Act restricting access to the file, or there may be a suppression (non-publication) order on the file you want to inspect. The Strategic Communications team can advise if this is the case.
To access a file that has been closed, write to the Principal Registrar outlining the reasons why access should be granted. Please use the Application for Directions Hearings or Orders to make this type of application. VCAT will either make a decision or schedule a hearing to decide whether access should be granted. Both parties and the media outlet are invited to attend this hearing.