Apply for confidentiality

Most VCAT files, hearings and decisions are open to the public, unless we order otherwise.

When decisions include written reasons, they are published on the Australasian Legal Information Institute website.

Information and evidence you give to us, including your name, may be available to anyone who inspects the file or attends the hearingDefinitionThe time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. , including the media. If you provide information to us in relation to a case we are hearing we are obliged by law to share it with other parties in the case. If you want to provide information to us in confidence you must first apply for confidentiality. Apply using the Application for directions hearings or orders form. 

Protecting information

Our ability to protect information is limited by legislation and principles of open justice.

Depending on the circumstances, we can protect information in any type of case. It is particularly important to protect information in cases involving children, adoption, guardianship, intellectual disabilityDefinitionSignificant limitations in learning, reasoning and problem solving as well as everyday social and practical skills. These limitations originate before the age of 18. , medical treatment, victims of crime and freedom of information matters.

Apply for confidentiality

In some cases, VCAT may order or a 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. may apply to:

  • restrict access to some or all of a case file
  • conceal a person’s identity, either in documents or in hearings
  • impose a closed court order or a suppression orderDefinitionAlso known as a non-publication order. A suppression order is an order made by VCAT or another authority that ensures information is not published or released beyond those with a right to have it. .

If you apply for confidentiality, you must:

  • write to us using the Application for Directions or Orders form
  • specify the order you want and the reasons
  • tell us if the matter is urgent
  • serve a copy of your request on all the other parties

Filing protected information

When you send protected information to VCAT you must follow strict rules. Use a cover sheet on each folder, container or electronic storage device to provide a description of its contents. You must also include a statement that the material is Protected Information. It may be protected information without an order having been made. 

Protected information must be filed personally with the Principal RegistrarDefinitionThe officer in charge of the administrative section of VCAT, which is known as the registry. , who will receipt the material by signing and affixing the VCAT seal and give a copy to the party who lodged the documents.

The Principal Registrar will secure the material in a tamper-evident security bag or other appropriate container and place it in a locked storage area.