Consent orders

A consent order is an order a VCAT member makes that the parties have agreed to.

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A consent order is a legal document issued by VCAT to confirm an agreement between the parties. The agreement might be:

  • about what steps the parties must take before a case goes to mediation, compulsory conference or hearing (how a case is managed)
  • to end the case.

If a VCAT member agrees to make a consent order that ends the case, you can enforce the order through the Magistrates’, Supreme or County courts.

Consent order about how your case is managed

You can ask for this order when all parties agree and want to:

  • set a timetable for the steps to be taken before a case goes to mediation, compulsory conference or hearing
  • change a mediation, compulsory conference or hearing date. For example, to get extra time to try and settle the dispute with the other parties before a hearing
  • get extra time to provide information to VCAT or other parties.

Consent order to end a case when you settle

If you and the other parties settle at a mediation, a compulsory conference or at any time before your hearing, you can ask for consent orders to end the case. This may mean you don't have to go to a hearing.

When to ask for a consent order

Ask for a consent order at least two days before the hearing. If the parties ask for a consent order less than two days before the hearing, you may still have to come to the hearing unless we decide you don’t have to.

How to ask for a consent order

If the parties have agreed to ask for a consent order, then any party can send the consent order to us signed by the other party/ies.

You must tell us in writing, by email or post:

  • your VCAT reference or file number
  • the exact terms of what you and the other party have agreed. Everyone has to agree on the exact wording
  • that each party agrees to the consent order. This is shown by every party signing the consent order.

Send your drafted consent order to VCAT by email or post.

We may change the format or wording of the proposed consent order but we don’t change what the parties have agreed to. If we do not agree with the consent order we may require the parties to attend a directions hearing or a hearing to discuss the order which should be made.

All parties involved in the case must follow what has been agreed in the consent order.

Reasons we may not agree to your consent order

To agree to a consent order, we must find that the terms are acceptable and lawful. If it’s inappropriate or unclear, we may ask the parties to attend a hearing. We tell you if we have concerns with what you have asked for in the consent order.

Until we agree to the consent order, you must follow anything we have already ordered you to do.

Common types of consent orders

You want to withdraw your application and agree that each party pays their own costs

You can ask for these consent orders if you withdraw the matter and all parties agree to pay their own costs. We call this withdrawing a case ‘with no order as to costs’.

Costs can include paying for:

  • lawyers
  • expert reports
  • photocopying and printing documents.

The application is struck out with a right to apply for reinstatement

You can ask for consent orders that allow you to bring the case back to VCAT if the other party doesn’t do what they’ve agreed to do. We say this is when the matter is being ‘struck out with the right to apply for reinstatement’.

Some examples of when you may ask for this type of consent order are:

  • one party paying the other a sum of money
  • work being done
  • goods being returned.

You want extra time to settle without a hearing

If you and other party think you may soon reach an agreement and need extra time before a hearing, you can ask for a consent order to do this.

We may set a date for you to update us in writing on whether you’ve settled. On this date, we review what you’ve told us. We call this an ‘administrative mention’.

If you haven’t settled, you may ask for more time, a directions hearing to resolve problems that have come up, or ask for a hearing to finalise the case.

You agree on how your case will be managed

You can ask for this order when all parties agree and want to:

  • set a timetable for the steps to be taken before a case goes to mediation, compulsory conference or hearing
  • change a mediation, compulsory conference or hearing date. For example, to get extra time to try and settle the dispute with the other parties before a hearing
  • get extra time to provide information to VCAT or other parties.

Related pages

Consent orders in planning disputes

If you are involved in a planning dispute you can ask for a consent order to confirm an agreement between you and the other parties.

Settle before the hearing

Even if an application has been made against you, you can still try to resolve the dispute yourselves without going to VCAT.

How to communicate with VCAT and other parties

Understand when and how to communicate with VCAT and any other parties involved in your case.

Help and support

  • We give each case a reference number. Use this reference number whenever you contact us or the other people involved in the case. You can find the reference number on any letters, emails or text messages we send you about your case.

    Each VCAT reference number has a letter at the start to show what type of case it is. It also has the year that you applied. For example, a reference number for a rental dispute may be ‘R2020/123’. 

    The VCAT reference number is usually different to the number you get when you apply using one of our online forms.

    Find out more about the types of cases we deal with