Proud to be celebrating 20 years of VCAT

Posted on 01 Jul 2018

The formation of VCAT was a ground-breaking move, as Victoria became the first state to merge a range of boards and tribunals under one roof, creating Australia’s first super tribunal. A total of 15 boards and tribunals were merged to create VCAT.

Video transcript

Today, VCAT resolves more than 85,000 cases per year, mostly residential tenancies cases. It handles cases in relation to more than 100 different pieces of legislation, from civil claims to guardianship matters.
In recent years we have:

  • consolidated numerous phone lines into a single 1800 phone number, part of our Customer Service Improvement Program
  • launched an award-winning website, including a rewrite of content into plain language
  • published new online forms for our most popular application types
  • launched a new Strategic Plan, Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, Accessibility Action Plan and Koori Inclusion Action Plan
  • held annual VCAT customer surveys, to help us improve services, achieving 85% overall customer satisfaction with VCAT services
  • successfully implemented new jurisdictions including Powers of Attorney
  • refurbished our main hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. venue at 55 King Street, Melbourne.

A short history of VCAT

From mid-1900s
Increasing reliance on legislation as the law of the land rather than ‘judge-made law’. Tribunals start to be set up as a faster, more economical and less formal alternative to courts.
Various reports propose reforms, including consolidating Victoria’s many boards and tribunals into one.
A Victoria Law Foundation Report calls for reform, estimating Victoria had 200-300 tribunals, boards and decision-making bodies.
Attorney-General Jan Wade’s discussion paper recommends establishing VCAT to replace all existing tribunals within the Department of Justice.
VCAT opens its doors on 1 July 1998, amalgamating 15 boards and tribunals. It begins with only two divisions - civil and administrative.
VCAT Online enables electronic lodgement of residential tenancies matters – an innovation for courts and tribunals.
Human Rights Division established.

Legal Profession Tribunal incorporated into VCAT.
The Department of Justice ceases to provide the administrative support function for VCAT and this becomes part of Court Services Victoria’s functions. Important changes to the VCAT Act enhance VCAT’s powers. Residential Tenancies Division established.
VCAT gets expanded Powers of Attorney legislation.

Began to expand mediationDefinitionMediations are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator. services across Victoria, in partnership with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
First female VCAT President appointed.