Ending a case by dismissal or strikeout

If you are the respondent you can apply to have the case dismissed or struck out. VCAT can also order a dismissal or strike out on our own initiative, without receiving an application.

Reasons a case may be dismissed or struck out

We can strike out or dismiss a case if:

  • VCAT does not have jurisdiction to deal with the claim
  • it lacks substance - the legal term is 'frivolous'
  • it was made without reasonable grounds or to annoy, cause delay or detriment, or achieve another wrongful purpose - the legal term is 'vexatious'
  • it is not based on good reasons or understanding - the legal term is 'misconceived'
  • it has been inexcusably delayed - the legal term is 'for want of prosecution'
  • it would more appropriately be dealt with by another court or tribunal
  • the parties have reached an agreement to resolve the case themselves. Learn more about settling before a hearing

Difference between dismissal and strike out

When a case is dismissed, there is no right to reinstate it in the future. This is the legal way to say the case is closed and it cannot be re-opened.

When a case is struck out, it may be re-opened. This will depend on why it was struck out. You have the right to ask us to reinstate the case in the future.

Apply for a dismissal or strike out

Apply for dismissal or strike out by bringing the completed application form to us in person, or sending it by post, fax or email. You must serve a copy of the application for order form to the applicant within seven days of lodging it with VCAT. If you need to apply, use the Application for Directions Hearings or Orders form.

What happens next

When VCAT receives your application we may suspend other procedural steps until we decide the strike-out or dismissal application. We give the parties an opportunity to make written and oral submissions on the application.

What VCAT can order

A strike-out or dismissal application will only succeed if it shows the matter is hopeless or unsustainable for one of the reasons listed above.

If the respondent’s application is successful, we will strike out or dismiss the applicant’s application. If the respondent’s application fails, the applicant’s application will continue in the ordinary way.

If VCAT is satisfied that the claim is arguable, we will not strike out the application or Points of Claim. Sometimes just parts of an application or Points of Claim will be struck out. 

If the application is struck out, you can try to fix problems with it and apply to have it reinstated. We strongly recommend you get legal advice if a respondent applies to have your application struck out.

Dismissing or striking out a case is not the same as withdrawing

If the applicant withdraws their application, in most cases they cannot make another application about the same facts and circumstances without VCAT's permission. Learn more about how to withdraw a an application.

The other party may be able to seek costs under section 74(2) of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Act 1998.

Case types

Some details of the steps to follow during a VCAT case vary for different case types.
Choose a case type to see any case type specific variations.