VCAT coronavirus (COVID-19) division response

Posted on 30 Apr 2020

Planning and Environment

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VCAT paused all face-to-face hearings, including those in the Planning and Environment Division. Notwithstanding this, we are working hard at exploring various and innovative options for conducting hearings without the need for physical or face-to-face attendance.

What are we doing?

Active triaging

We have been triaging and case managing files so that cases are ready to go either by phone, video conferencing or eventually in person again. For many adjourned applications, parties may have seen there is an invitation to have the matter dealt with 'on the papers'. VCAT has provided guidance to its users for the filing of material to support determinations 'on the papers'

Where your application has been adjourned because of the COVID-19 pandemic we will prioritise re-listing as soon as appropriate arrangements can be made.

Revamped short cases list

We will be launching a revamped Short Cases ListDefinitionA List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. soon to assist in the management of some less complex matters.

Major case list

All applications received in the Major Cases List will no longer be automatically listed for a practice day hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. . If an applicantDefinitionThe person or organisation applying to VCAT. requests a practice day hearing (PDH), justification for it will need to be provided. If procedural orders are sought, those orders should be included within the application for review.

Objector applications

All objector applications will be listed for a compulsory conferenceDefinitionCompulsory conferences are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of a VCAT member. .

Initiating orders

Applicants have not been receiving initiating orders from VCAT as resources have not been available to facilitate this. We are now working on this backlog and all applications that have been filed will soon be receiving initiating orders.

Hearings, compulsory conferences and practice day hearings

We are exploring options to provide non-face to face options for hearings, compulsory conferences and practice day hearings. This will include conducting matters by phone, video conferencing or 'on the papers' as appropriate.