End a case by dismissal or strike out
When you respond to an application against you, you can ask for VCAT to dismiss a case or end it in a strike out.
If an application has been made against you, you can apply to have it either dismissed or struck out before the final hearing. We only agree to dismiss or strike out a case for specific reasons.
The difference between a dismissal and strike out
If we decide to dismiss a case, it’s closed and can’t be ‘re-opened’. This means the applicant can’t bring the case again.
A case that has been struck out may be re-opened in some circumstances. For example, if we strike it out with a right of reinstatement. This means the applicant has a chance to fix problems with their side of the case. They can then apply to bring it back to VCAT.
If we strike out a case, any party can ask us to re-open it. We can’t strike out a case to review a planning decision.
Get legal advice about strike outs
We recommend you get legal advice about strike outs when:
- you’re a respondent and you want to ask us to end the case in a strike out
- you’re an applicant and the respondent has applied to strike out your case.
Reasons we dismiss or strike out a case before the final hearing
We may dismiss or strike out a case if it’s obvious that it can’t succeed. For example:
- we don’t have jurisdiction
- it’s obviously hopeless
- it’s a misuse (abuse) of the VCAT process.
We may also bring it to an end if one party is conducting it in a way that unnecessarily disadvantages the other party:
- If the applicant is conducting it in that way, we may strike out or dismiss the case.
- If the respondent is conducting it in that way, we may make final orders in favour of the applicant.
How to apply for a dismissal or strike out
Use the Application for Directions Hearings or Orders form to apply for a dismissal or strike out.
There is no fee to apply.
If you’re involved in a planning and environment case, use the Practice Day Request form to apply.
Send the completed form to us in person, or by post, or email.
You must send the other parties a copy of the application. It’s best to send it to them as soon as you submit your application. If you don’t send it to them within seven days of when you submit it to us, we may not accept your application.
If you’re involved in a residential tenancy dispute, use the form to help you write your reasons and bring it to the hearing.
What happens after you apply
We usually decide on your application for dismissal or strike out at a hearing. This gives the other parties an opportunity to have their say about your application in person or in writing.
We may ask you to attend a hearing we have already set, or we may organise a directions hearing to discuss only the request to dismiss or strike out.
You must bring a copy of your application to the hearing.
If we agree to your application, we either strike out or dismiss the case. If we do strike out or dismiss the case we may make an order for the other party to compensate you for any costs, expenses, loss, inconvenience or embarrassment caused as a result of the other party bringing the case against you at VCAT.
If we don’t agree to your application to strike out or dismiss the case, you must follow any instructions we’ve given you about the case in the notice or order. This may include ordering you to pay the other party’s costs of your application to strike out or dismiss.
Other options to end the case at VCAT
You can come to an agreement (settle) with the other parties, which ends the case.
This gives you and the other parties more control of the outcome through negotiation.
If you don’t reach an agreement, a VCAT member makes a decision based on the facts of the case, the evidence that parties present and what the law says.
Our fair hearing obligation
The obligation to provide a fair hearing is an important part of VCAT’s role and applies to everything we do.
Decisions and orders
After we listen to both sides of a dispute at VCAT, we make a decision. Find out the difference between a decision we make at the hearing and an order.
Settle before a hearing
Even if an application has been made against you, you can still try to resolve the dispute yourselves without going to VCAT.