Consent orders

A consent order is a legal document issued by VCAT to confirm an agreement between parties. Any partyDefinitionA person or organisation directly involved in a VCAT case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before VCAT or who is defending claims made against them. to a proceeding may request a consent order.

A consent order can be procedural or final

A procedural consent order confirms details of an agreement between the parties, so we can make orders about how the case will proceed before a final hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. - for example, orders that confirm an agreement to adjourn a hearing, mediationDefinitionMediations are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator. or compulsory conferenceDefinitionCompulsory conferences are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of a VCAT member. , or to change previous orders. A procedural consent order does not end the case.

A final consent order ends the case. It is issued when the parties have reached an agreement without VCAT needing to make a decision about the legal merits of case. Learn more about settling before a hearing.

How to apply for a consent order

Depending on your case type you may apply for a consent order by writing to the Principal RegistrarDefinitionThe officer in charge of the administrative section of VCAT, which is known as the registry. of VCAT.

If you are applying for a consent order in the Planning and Environment ListDefinitionA List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. , please refer to this guideline.

For all other lists, when all parties in the case have agreed to the exact wording of the consent order, the person applying for the order should tell VCAT. This should be done in writing before the scheduled hearing. Please include your reference or file number with your consent order.

The other parties must also tell VCAT in writing that they agree to the proposed consent order.

What to include in your application

When you apply for a consent orders, tell us in writing:

  • what you and the other party have agreed
  • why you are asking for a settlement
  • what the settlement is trying to achieve
  • that each party agrees to the settlement.

If your settlement application is clear and precise, it will be more straightforward to obtain a consent order. Remember that you must follow VCAT procedures, including things that we have already ordered you to do.

Apply early or you may still have to attend the hearing

Apply for a consent order at least two days before the scheduled hearing. If you apply fewer than two days before the hearing, you may still have to attend the hearing unless VCAT says you don’t have to.

We may make the consent order and tell you that you do not need to attend the hearing.

If VCAT makes the consent order

VCAT may change the format or wording of the proposed consent order but we do not usually substantially change what the parties have agreed to. The consent order is legally binding for all parties in the case.

If VCAT does not make the consent order

If the proposed consent order is inappropriate or unclear, we ask the parties to attend a hearing.

We must be satisfied that the terms of the consent order are acceptable and lawful. We will tell you if we have concerns about the proposed consent order.

For more information about consent orders, see PNVCAT1: Common Procedures.

Examples of consent orders

Jill Smith pay Jack Jones $1000 on an agreed date

This is a final order that can be enforced in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria if a party does not do what has been agreed. Read more about enforcing VCAT orders.

The application is struck out with a right to apply for reinstatement

These consent orders are made if the settlement depends on a step such as a payment, work being done, goods being returned or the signing formal terms of settlement. If the terms are not followed, a party may usually bring the case back to VCAT - that is, reinstate it. Read more about ending a case by strike out.

This proceeding is listed for an administrative mention on an agreed date

Generally you can set a date by which things have to be done and, by that date notify us in writing, about the situation. You may advise us that: the matter has been settled and request orders, request an extension of the date, ask for a directions hearingDefinitionA directions hearing is a hearing where a VCAT member decides how a case should be managed and how much time it will take. to resolve problems that have arisen, or request a directions hearing to set the case down for hearing.

The application is withdrawn

This consent order is made if the agreement has already taken place – for example, Jill Smith tells VCAT that Jack Jones has paid her $1000 and that she wants to cancel a hearing or alternative dispute resolution. Learn more about how to withdraw an application.

The application is withdrawn with no order as to costs

This consent order is made if the agreement has already taken place and the parties who are represented by lawyers agree that they will pay their own legal costs.