VCAT hearings during coronavirus restrictions
In response to COVID-19, most VCAT hearings are continuing to be held by phone or video conference, unless in some limited circumstances we allow in-person hearings.
There may be hearing delays
COVID-19 has impacted normal timeframes for hearings. We are working hard to address the delays and will contact you once your application progresses.
How we are holding hearings
By phone or videoconference
The majority of hearings are being held by phone or videoconference. We will contact you to let you know how you will attend and explain what you need to do prepare.
The technology used will depend on the requirements of a case, such as its length, complexity and the number of parties.
Limited in-person hearings
In some circumstances we may allow in person hearings. We will advise you and the other parties if your hearing will be in person and the location.
COVID safety measures for in-person hearings
VCAT maintains contact tracing requirements and COVID-safe cleaning measures for all our venues.
Upon entry to VCAT you will be required to:
- complete QR code requirements
- practise safe hygiene by washing your hands and using hand sanitiser provided in the VCAT foyer, hearing rooms and bathrooms.
Please stay at home and contact us on 1300 01 8228 if you cannot attend the hearing or you:
- feel unwell, or have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19
- have had any contact with a known case of COVID-19 or
- are currently working or living with anyone who is in isolation, in quarantine, or awaiting test results for COVID-19.
Email all documents before your hearing
Any documents you will use in your phone or videoconference hearing, must be emailed to VCAT and all parties 48 hours before your hearing to avoid your hearing being delayed.
Email your documents only after we send you your hearing date.
If your hearing has been postponed
Unless we tell you, you should assume your case will go ahead according to any notices or information that you have previously been given – there is no need to contact VCAT to check on your case.
If we decide that your case can only go ahead face-to-face, it will be postponed (adjourned).
Where possible, matters previously postponed (adjourned) as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will be rescheduled for hearing, if they can proceed using phone or videoconference. We are managing the backlog of cases.
VCAT will contact parties to advise new dates to attend VCAT.
Some matters will be decided ‘on the papers’, which means that they will be decided on the basis of documents and evidence provided to us, without the parties needing to attend a hearing.
If you settle before the hearing
You can try to resolve the dispute with other parties before your hearing. If you come to an agreement (settle), you must let us know.
What happens if you miss your hearing
VCAT will inform you of your allocated hearing time in advance. If you cannot make this time you should request a change of hearing date. If you miss the hearing for your case, the member may make a decision and create orders in your absence.
Help and support
My case is being heard by phone or videoconference, what is the process?
VCAT will contact you to let you know the scheduled time for the hearing.
A phone hearing or videoconference is no different to a hearing in person, so ensure you are in a quiet location and have any relevant paperwork at hand.
Find out more information about what to expect on your hearing day.
Make sure you check upcoming hearings to keep up to date with your hearing time. Due to capacity issues, we may not be able to remind you when your upcoming hearing is.
How to join a phone or videoconference
Is VCAT still accepting new cases?
You can still apply about any matter that falls in VCAT's jurisdiction.
Can I still ask for a summons for a person to attend a hearing?
We can issue a summons at your request. The person summonsed will be required to attend the hearing, give evidence or produce documents.
Temporary regulations made in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have brought changes to the way in which a person can respond to a summons. A person summonsed may attend a VCAT hearing by audio or audio-visual link, and may deliver summonsed documents to VCAT electronically (eg. by email).