Learn more about what you can report in the media and how to obtain information about a case.
How to attend a hearing
VCAT holds hearings in person, via phone and videoconference. VCAT publishes hearings for the next five business days on our Upcoming Hearings page.
Tell us if you're a media representative and want to attend a hearing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours before the hearing start time.
You cannot observe compulsory conferences or mediations unless you are a party in the case.
When a hearing is to be held in person, it is usually not possible to attend remotely. Likewise, you cannot physically go to VCAT to attend a phone or videoconference hearing.
Restrictions on reporting about hearings
VCAT hearings are generally open to the public, including media, unless VCAT makes a closed court order under the Open Courts Act 2013 closing all or part of the proceeding.
VCAT can make a closed court order for several reasons, including ensuring the safety of people involved in the case, or to prevent the disclosure of confidential information.
Media who want to attend a hearing should contact VCAT’s Strategic Communications team, who can advise you if the case is subject to a closed court order and provide a copy ahead of the hearing. Reviewing these orders will help you understand the limitations on what you can report on.
Obtaining recordings of hearings
VCAT partners with several third-party suppliers who record our hearings and can provide them to media for a fee (transcript options are also available).
Requests for comment
VCAT cannot comment on the specifics of individual cases or on matters of government policy. But we can usually provide more general comments about how VCAT works, with the aim of improving understanding in the community. You can request a comment by contacting the Strategic Communications team.
VCAT makes every effort to meet deadlines, but all requests should include a deadline for when you require information by. Providing us with more time will allow for a better response.
Inspecting case files
Most VCAT case files can be inspected. The Strategic Communications team arranges file inspection. Complete a file and document request form, pay the $128.80 file inspection fee and email completed form to email@example.com.
There is a fee of $128.80 to access a file, which applies to anyone who is not a party to the proceeding. This fee is set by the Victorian Government.
We will contact you when the file is ready for you to view, or advise you if there are any orders preventing the file’s inspection.
Some files are available to view digitally and will be emailed to you after we receive your payment. Hard copy files can either be viewed in person at our 55 King Street Melbourne premises or scanned and emailed to you. Scanning can take some time to organise as it is managed by a third party. Please allow ten business days for delivery of scanned files.
Attend a VCAT hearing or other proceeding
VCAT hearings are generally open to the public, including media. Access depends on the type of proceeding and whether orders are in place that close the hearing or prevent publication of details.
Filming, photography, audio and social media
As a media representative from a news organisation you have certain privileges under the Court Security Act 1980.
Recordings and transcripts of VCAT hearings
Anyone can request an audio recording or a written transcript of a hearing.
View a VCAT file
A file is all the documents submitted to VCAT as part of a case.