VCAT uses legal terms to describe the people and processes in a case. Find definitions for legal terms at VCAT words and phrases.
Applicants and respondents
When you apply to start a case, we call you an applicant. If a case has been started against you, we call you the respondent.
Some cases have more than one applicant or more than one respondent.
Parties in a VCAT case or proceeding are any people or organisations affected by our decisions, who have been named in an application or given leave by VCAT to be a party.
'Given leave by VCAT to be a party' is the legally correct way of saying that someone has VCAT's permission to be a party.
Applicants and respondents as parties
A person who applies to VCAT using the correct form and pays their application fee is automatically a party.
A person who has been named as a respondent in a case is automatically a party.
Applicants and respondents receive correspondence and notices from us and are entitled to attend hearings, compulsory conferences, mediations and other dispute resolution activities set by us.
VCAT can order you or someone else to be joined as a party to a proceeding. 'Joined as a party' is the legally correct way of saying that you've been added to the list of parties for a proceeding. You may be joined as a party if we or another party thinks that you should be bound by or will benefit from a VCAT decision or order, if your interests are affected or for any other reason.
Sometimes parties are joined as parties by a respondent who wishes to make a claim for contribution or indemnity against them.
Organisations requesting to be joined as a party
The Attorney-General, the Small Business Commissioner and the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria are entitled to be joined as parties in a VCAT proceeding if they request it. Other organisations can also ask to be joined as intervening parties, for example the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Individuals requesting to be joined as a party
VCAT can order someone to be joined as a party if they apply and we accept their application. We can also join someone as a party to a proceeding if we think it is in their interests to do so.
Once a party has been joined, they receive copies of all notices and correspondence that applicants and respondents receive. Joined parties are also entitled to be heard at a hearing.
Read how to apply to join someone as a party.
Removing a party
VCAT can decide to remove a party if the person is not affected by the proceeding or for some other reason is not a proper or necessary party. To remove a party, VCAT must make an order.
Cases and proceedings at VCAT are heard by members. They have diverse qualifications and experience including legal and specialist expertise.
Some orders can only be made by judicial members, for example an order to issue a summons to a person or organisation with an interstate address. Judicial members of VCAT are defined by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 as VCAT's president and vice presidents.
VCAT's president is a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. VCAT's vice presidents are judges of the County Court of Victoria.
Presidential members include the president, vice presidents and deputy presidents. Some types of orders or applications can only be heard or dealt with by a presidential member.