You may be able to resolve your dispute by negotiating with the other party .
If you can resolve your dispute there may be no need to attend a hearing .
You can try to resolve your dispute yourself at any time by negotiating directly with the other party. Advise VCAT in writing if you reach an agreement.
Alternative dispute resolution services at VCAT
At VCAT, we provide alternative dispute resolution services.
Alternative dispute resolution involves a confidential meeting where parties can explore options to resolve their dispute with the help of an impartial mediator or VCAT member .
We offer two types of alternative dispute resolution services:
- compulsory conference
- fast track mediation and hearing (for resolving goods and services disputes up to $5000).
Confirm your settlement
If you and the other party come to an agreement, we can confirm the settlement arrangement with a legally binding document called a consent order.
Learn more about applying for a consent order.
Planning and Environment
Preparing an opening statement
When preparing your opening statement think about what you want the outcome of the negotiation to be. Be clear about the compromises you might be prepared to make during negotiation at a compulsory conference .
Attendance is compulsory
If you are a party , you or your representative must attend any scheduled mediation or conference. If you do not attend, the dispute may be settled and final orders made in your absence.
When a permit applicant making an application to VCAT or their representative does not attend, we confirm the responsible authority's decision.
If you have a representative attend the mediation or conference on your behalf, they must have authority to negotiate and settle the dispute.
If the parties reach agreement
If you and the other parties reach agreement during the mediation or compulsory conference, we prepare a terms of settlement document. All parties and the VCAT member sign the document and then we make a written order – called a consent order – that confirms the agreement.
VCAT cannot make an order that would result in an unlawful permit – regardless of any agreement between the parties.
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT1 - Common Procedures
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT4 - Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT2 - Expert Evidence
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT5 - Directions Hearings and Urgent Hearings
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT3 - Fair Hearing Obligation
- VCAT practice note - PNVCAT6 - Hearing Fees