The hearing 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 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.
If we have scheduled a phone hearing for your case, find out how to prepare for your phone hearing.
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 use electronic equipment in our hearing rooms to help you present your case. We have audiovisual equipment and facilities to help people with disability. You may also be able to bring your own equipment. You must let us know if you want to use our equipment or your own. Find out more about our available hearing room technology and how to apply.
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. Find out more about 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.
Who can come with you
You can bring someone along to your hearing for support. This support person could be anyone you choose, including a friend or family member. They cannot speak on your behalf.
Ask us for assistance
If you need help at VCAT (including interpreters, hearing loops, 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.
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT1 - Common Procedures
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT5 - Directions Hearings and Urgent Hearings
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT2 - Expert Evidence
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT6 - Hearing Fees
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT3 - Fair Hearing Obligation
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT7 - Hearing Room Technology
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT4 - Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)