Fast track mediation and hearing
For resolving goods and services disputes up to $10,000
To help you resolve your goods and services dispute as quickly as possible, VCAT and the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria provide a fast track service.
If the amount in dispute is between $500 and $10,000, you may be invited to attend a mediation. This is an opportunity to resolve your dispute by talking through the issues with the other people involved, assisted by a mediator from the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria or VCAT.
If you cannot resolve your dispute at mediation, you go to a VCAT hearing within a few hours. At the hearing, a VCAT member makes a decision about the case. You do not have to pay hearing fees for this same-day service.
How it works
A mediator contacts you
If we think your dispute is suitable, a mediator from the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria contacts you to discuss the process. The Dispute Settlement Centre is a state-wide dispute resolution service for both community and civil disputes.
If you agree to take part, we set a time and place for you and the other people involved to come to VCAT.
How long it takes
The mediation takes up to one hour but allow five hours on the day in case your dispute goes to a hearing. If you cannot resolve the dispute at the mediation, you go to a VCAT hearing within a few hours.
At the mediation
The mediator helps you talk with the other people involved, to see if you can resolve some or all of the issues. They confirm the outcome of the mediation with VCAT but do not disclose what was discussed or decided by the parties.
If your dispute goes to a hearing
A VCAT member listens to submissions and evidence, and makes a decision either at the end of the hearing or in writing afterwards. Learn how to prepare for your hearing.
Preparing for fast track mediation and hearing
Who can come with you
You need to ask VCAT's permission to have a lawyer or professional representative, so be prepared to present your own case. Find out more about professional representation at VCAT.
You can bring someone for support, such as a family member or friend, but they cannot usually speak on your behalf.
The mediator decides on the day who is present in the mediation room and how they take part. Find out what happens at a mediation and how to prepare.
If your case goes to a hearing, the VCAT member has final say on who takes part in the hearing. Learn how to prepare for your hearing.
Be clear about what you want
You need to be ready to explain the details and how you think it could be settled.
Be ready to discuss and answer questions about:
- the outcome you want
- the facts of your case (what happened, when, what you did, what the other party did).
Make sure you carefully read the other party's supporting documents so that you understand their claim and can respond to it. If you are the respondent, this includes the application.
Prepare information and supporting documents
Gather all the information and documents you need to present your best possible case.
If you are the applicant, you must bring a copy of your application. You will need to bring a completed Declaration of Service to show that you sent the application and your supporting documents to the respondent.
If you are a respondent, you will need to respond to the claim.
If you cannot attend the hearing and have arranged someone to attend in your place, they need to bring your written authority to make decisions on your behalf.
Accessibility and support services
Tell us if you need support to attend, such as interpreters, security, family violence support, hearing and speech assistance, audiovisual equipment, wheelchair access and other accessibility assistance. See our customer support options.
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