View a VCAT file

A file is all the documents submitted to VCAT as part of a case.

If you’re a party involved in a case, you can ask to view your file for free. If you’re not part of the case then you must pay a fee. This includes journalists.

When you’re not a party involved in a case, you can apply and pay to view most VCAT files.

What you need

When you apply for file access, you need to give us one of these:

  • names of all parties involved in the case
  • VCAT reference number
  • property address, if the case is about land. For example, a planning, building or land valuation dispute.

We may decide to tell the other parties in your case that you have asked to see a VCAT file. If they disagree, we may schedule a directions hearing to decide.

How to view a VCAT file

You can look at most VCAT files at our main office at 55 King Street, Melbourne, or at a suburban or rural venue if you arrange it with us.

Files for cases in the Guardianship List and Human Right List are available at the William Cooper Justice centre in William Street, Melbourne.

We can also send files to another VCAT location in Victoria if needed.

If we approve your request, you look at the file in a private room with security cameras. For files about human rights cases, a staff member will be with you when you view the files.

Access to documents for representatives

You can also access documents that are part of a case if you represent a party in the case.

You may:

  • represent a party – for example, you are a tenant representative, real estate agent, professional advocate, solicitor or owners corporation manager)
  • advise or assist a party and have their permission to access documents.

How to access files in a residential tenancies case 

How to access files in a guardianship and administration case

Files that are not available to view

Some case files are not available to view because:

  • they relate to Freedom of Information Act 1982
  • there is an order that restricts access under section 146 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998
  • there is a suppression (non-publication) order
  • we no longer keep the information after five years.

How to view a VCAT file

You can look at most VCAT files at our main office at 55 King Street, Melbourne, or at a suburban or rural venue if you arrange it with us.

If we approve your request, you look at the file in a private room with security cameras. For files about human rights cases, a staff member will be with you when you view the files.

You can:

  • take photos of documents for free
  • photocopy documents for a fee.

You cannot:

  • remove any documents
  • publish, share or distribute copies or photos of the file material without our permission.

1 Download the form

Download the File and Document Access Request form and send it to us (see the last page of the form for instructions).

If you’re a journalist, download the Media Request form and email it to our Strategic Communications team

Read more about how journalists can view files.

We’ll call or email you to let you know if we approve your request. If it’s approved, you can make a booking.

2 Make a booking

Bookings are for one hour, Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4pm at 55 King Street, Melbourne (or as arranged at another venue).

We can generally have a file ready to view within 48 hours, or in three business days for archived files that are stored in our off-site storage facility.

Call us on 1300 01 8228 or email us. Find the right email address for your type of case.

If you need more than one hour or want to bring more than one person with you, let us know when you book.

When you arrive, go to the Customer Service Centre, pay the fee (if it applies) and we’ll show you to the file inspection room. (If you’re visiting another location, we’ll tell you where to go.)

3 Pay the fee (if it applies to you) on the day

You pay a fee if you’re not party of the case and you want to view its file.

The fee per file is $120, or $44.40 if you have a Commonwealth Health Care Card.

If you have a different concession card, you aren’t automatically eligible for the reduced rate. However, you can apply to have your fee reduced or waived if you’re in financial hardship.

These fees are set by the Victorian Government.

Pay when you come to VCAT between 9am - 4pm with:

  • credit card -  Mastercard or Visa
  • EFTPOS
  • cash
  • a bank cheque, solicitor firm cheque or money order - made out to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. We don't accept personal cheques.

Information for journalists who apply to view a file

Our Strategic Communications team arranges file inspections for media.

We’ll tell you if you’re able to view a file at our head office at King Street, Melbourne. In some circumstances, you can view a file at a VCAT suburban or regional venue on the day we attend at that location. Please give us as much notice as possible if you want to do this. We may not be able to approve this request.

We may decide to notify the parties involved in the case about your request. If a party objects, we organise a directions hearing to decide whether to agree to your request.

We can generally have a file ready to view within 48 hours, or in three business days for archived files that are stored in our off-site storage facility. Contact our Strategic Communications team if your deadlines are more urgent.

Copies and photos of file material must not be published, shared or distributed without our permission.

When journalists ask to access a restricted file

Sometimes there is a legal order to restrict access to a file, including:

  • an order under section 146 of the VCAT Act
  • a suppression (non-publication) order.

The Strategic Communications team can tell you if a file is restricted.

To access a file that’s been closed, write to the Principal Registrar and outline the reasons why access should be granted. Fill out the Application for Directions Hearings or Orders as part of your application.

VCAT will either make a decision or organise a directions hearing to decide whether to give you access. We invite the parties of the case and the media outlet to attend this hearing.

Get a copy of a decision

If you want only a copy of a decision, you can ask in writing for a litigation search.

There is a fee of $74.10. If you have a Commonwealth Health Care Card, the fee is $28.10.

Email us or send your request by post.

Find the email address for your type of case

Related pages

Privacy at VCAT

Understand how we store information and what is available to the public.

Access to documents - guardians and administrators cases

If you’re a party or represent a party in a residential tenancy dispute, find out how to access documents about the case.

How to access documents in a residential tenancies case

If you’re a party or represent a party in a rental property dispute, you can ask to have documents from the case sent to you.