Court decision affects the kinds of cases VCAT can decide

Posted on 27 Feb 2020

People coming to VCAT may be asked for information about where they live following a recent decision by the Victorian Court of Appeal.

The Court’s decision means that VCAT cannot decide some kinds of cases, including where:

  • the parties are residents of different Australian states, or
  • the Commonwealth of Australia is a partyDefinitionA person or organisation directly involved in a VCAT case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before VCAT or who is defending claims made against them. .

VCAT decides if the parties are residents of different states:

  • based on when the application is lodged, not when the dispute started, and
  • whether a party lives permanently in a state.

This decision does not affect a party who is:

  • a corporation or State political entity
  • a resident of a territory (they are not a resident of a state), or
  • an overseas resident.

The Court of Appeal’s decision raises highly technical constitutional law issues about VCAT’s powers to decide certain kinds of cases. However, it will not affect all the cases that VCAT can decide. 

It is important for the Victorian community that VCAT continues to resolve disputes in a timely, cost-effective and efficient way. VCAT will assess the impact of the decision on a case-by-case basis.

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