How to prepare for your hearing

The hearing Definition The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. allows all parties a chance to make submissions, to give and hear evidence, ask questions of you and your witnesses, and provide supporting documents. A VCAT member Definition A person who hears and decides cases at VCAT. Some members are specialists in particular areas of law. listens to submissions and evidence, and makes a decision, either at the end of the hearing or in writing as soon as possible afterwards. You may have to attend more than one hearing depending on your case.

Prepare early

Start your preparation early so you can gather all the evidence you need to present the best possible case.

Give other people, including your witnesses, enough time to assist you and to be available on the hearing day. For example, arranging expert witnesses can take time.

You may be able to use technology in our hearing rooms such as audiovisual equipment, mobile devices and assistive listening devices. See our practice note on available hearing room technology for more information.

If you cannot make a hearing

If you cannot make the scheduled hearing date, request a change of hearing date as soon as possible.

You might also be able to attend the hearing remotely, such as by phone or video conference. See our hearing room technology.

Follow VCAT procedures

You must follow our rules and procedures carefully or there can be legal consequences. The rules and procedures are set out in VCAT's practice notes.

Seek advice if you need it

Some organisations offer free or low-cost advice that can help with your VCAT case. We've added links to the websites of organisations that may be able to help you to the bottom of our case type pages.

Authorising someone to represent you at the hearing

Usually people choose to represent themselves at VCAT. If you want to be represented at the hearing, you must give someone written authority to act as your agent.

The agent must have:

  • enough knowledge of the dispute to present your case
  • authority to agree to any settlement
  • authority to make promises to the Tribunal in relation to any decision.

Written authority must be shown at the start of the hearing.

A company must appoint an agent for the hearing. The written authority to act as an agent of a company must be signed by a company director.

Find more information about professional representation, including an example of written authority you can provide to an agent.

Ask us for assistance

If you need assistance at VCAT (including interpreters, hearing loop, video or telephone links, or family violence support) please contact us as early as possible so we can assist you. Learn more about customer support at VCAT.

Case types

Some details of the steps to follow during a VCAT case vary for different case types.
Choose a case type to see any case type specific variations.