Decisions and orders
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.
When VCAT makes a decision we must give reasons for that decision. We also make an order which the parties involved in the case must follow.
When we make a decision we may take into account copies of all documents, reports and other materials provided by parties.
Sometimes a party gives us a document that explains how they think we should make our decision. This document is usually called 'submissions' or 'contentions'.
When to ask for written reasons – what you must do
The VCAT member gives verbal reasons, at the end of the hearing before the parties leave.
If you want the member to give you written reasons for their decision you need to ask for it.
For renting disputes, you will need to ask for written reasons before or at the time a decision is made.
For all other cases, ask the member to give you written reasons for their decision at the start of the hearing. Otherwise, contact us for written reasons within 14 days of the date when we gave the verbal reasons.
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.
Learn more about enforcing a VCAT order or fixing a mistake in a VCAT order.
Initial orders in Mental Health cases only
The member may make initial orders that include some or all of these directions:
- the mental health service provider is joined as a respondent to the proceeding
- the authorised psychiatrist at the mental health service must send VCAT and the applicant a current treatment report
- the applicant may give VCAT or bring to the hearing further material
- the matter is listed for hearing
- the mental health service provider shall be represented by a medical practitioner who has knowledge of the applicant and their current treatment
- the Mental Health Tribunal is excused from attending the hearing.
Where to find VCAT decisions
Case decisions with written reasons are available on the Australasian Legal Information Institute website (AustLii). We only publish high profile decisions on our website.
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:
- 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
- we vary an order for enforcement reasons under section 120A 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.
Learn more about enforcing a VCAT order, fixing a mistake in a VCAT order, what to do if you miss your hearing and appealing a VCAT decision.
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.