VCAT makes a decision in a matter after hearing the evidence, looking at the documents provided by each party and considering how the law applies to your case. Sometimes the other party gives us a document that explains how they think we should make our decision. This document is usually called 'submissions' or 'contentions'. We must give reasons for our decisions. We may decide to give verbal or written reasons. We give verbal reasons at the end of the hearing before the parties leave. When we make a decision about a case, we also make an order.
Well before the hearing you must give the other parties copies of all documents, reports and other materials that VCAT may take into account when making a decision.
If you want the member to give you written reasons for their decision you should tell them at the start of the hearing. If you ask for written reasons after the end of the hearing, you must contact us within 14 days of the date when we gave the verbal reasons.
For renting disputes and claims under $10,000 heard under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, you will need to ask for written reasons before or at the time a decision is made.
Read more about when to expect a decision.
When we make a decision about a case or a step in a case, we also make an order. Order is the legally correct term for decision or instruction.
Final orders and interim orders
A VCAT order may be final or interim.
- A final order is an order that resolves (ends) a case, for example an order that a party pay another party money.
- An interim order does not finally determine (end) a case. For example, orders setting a timetable for the filing and service of documents.
Monetary orders and non-monetary orders
An order may be monetary or non-monetary.
- A monetary order requires a party to pay money to another party.
- All other orders are called non-monetary orders.
Some case types also have additional types of orders that relate to the specific types of decisions that we are empowered to make under the relevant legislation.
Find VCAT decisions at AustLii
VCAT's decision is final
Our decision is final and must be followed by all parties. The only exceptions to this are when one of the following applies:
- when not all parties came to the hearing, and the decision is set aside on appeal by a party to the Supreme Court on a point of law.
- the order contains a mistake and is corrected under section 119 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Act 1998
- a party did not come to the hearing and the order is set aside (revoked) or changed under section 120 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Act 1998. The corrected decision must be followed.
The matter may be appealed even if all parties did not attend the hearing. Sometimes a party who does not attend appeals rather than seeking a review.
Decisions with written reasons are available to the public. If you are concerned about the publication of a decision (which may include your name) you should raise this with us. Learn more about applying for confidentiality.