VCAT words and phrases

A

Act

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)


Adjournment

A change to the date of a directions hearing, mediation, compulsory conference or hearing is called an adjournment.


Administrator

An administrator is a person appointed by VCAT to make decisions on behalf of an adult with a disability who is unable to make reasonable judgements in respect of matters relating to all or any part of her or his estate by reason of the disability.


ADR

Alternative dispute resolution. It includes a mediation or a compulsory conference.


Affidavit

An affidavit is a written statement where the contents are sworn or affirmed to be true. Affidavits mu​st be signed in front of a witness who is an 'authorised person'. 


Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a way of resolving a dispute that does not involve a formal hearing. Alternative dispute resolution may include a compulsory conference or mediation. We use both of these to help parties resolve matters by agreement, without having to go to a hearing. If the parties cannot settle a matter at a compulsory conference or mediation, the case generally goes to a hearing.


Applicant
The person or organisation applying to VCAT.

C

Certified copy

A copy of a document on which an authorised person has certified: ‘This is a true and complete copy of the original’.


Civil law

The area of law that covers disputes between organisations, companies or individuals, such as the law relating to contracts.


Commencement

Commencement is defined in the Regulations. It includes the lodgement of an application, a claim, a counterclaim, a third party notice, or any other originating process.


Company title corporation

Also known as a share ownership scheme. It is an arrangement where owners do not own individual units but instead own shares in a company that owns the whole development. In this type of scheme, the ownership of shares gives the shareholder the right to exclusive occupation of their particular unit.


Compulsory conference

Compulsory conferences are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of a VCAT member. The member does not make a decision in the case. Their role is to help you and the other party to agree on a fair resolution instead of VCAT deciding the case for you at a hearing.


Conciliation

A form of alternative dispute resolution. The parties negotiate with the help of an independent person. The aim is to sort out the dispute by agreement.


Counterclaim

If you believe you have a claim against the applicant, you can lodge your own claim with VCAT. This is called a counterclaim. Most case types allow a counterclaim but for some case types it is not possible.


D

Daily hearing fee

The daily hearing fee is the fee payable for each day or part of a day of a hearing.


Directions hearing

A directions hearing is a hearing where a VCAT member decides how a case should be managed and how much time it will take.


G

General valuation (for Land Valuation cases)

A general valuation is the process of assessing the value of all properties on the same date. A general valuation or revaluation is conducted by property valuers biennially for all valuation authorities throughout Victoria. 

The valuations are provided to the rating authorities, such as Council’s and the State Revenue Office for the purpose of rates and taxes. Revaluations ensure that both Council and State Government recognise the changes that occur in the property market, both positive and negative, and that these changes are reflected in the level of rates or land tax a landowner/ratepayer will pay.


Guardian

VCAT can appoint a guardian or administrator for an adult who, because of a disability, is unable to make their own reasoned decisions.


H

Hearing

The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision.


I

Incorporated association

An organisation, such as a club, formally set up as a separate, legally-recognised body.


Injunction

An order that stops a party from doing something, or makes a party do something.


Interim injunction

VCAT makes an interim injunction when there isn’t enough time to tell other parties about an injunction application. During a hearing, we will decide whether the injunction will continue.


Interim order

A temporary tribunal order that stays in place only until VCAT can make a decision on the issue at a full hearing.


Intervention order

A court order that prohibits a person from harming or harassing someone. 


J

Jurisdiction

The authority of a court or tribunal to hear matters brought before it.


L

List

A List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services.


M

Mediation

Mediations are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator. The mediator does not make a decision in the case. Their role is to help you and the other party to agree on a fair resolution at the mediation instead of VCAT deciding the case for you at a hearing.


Member

A person who hears and decides cases at VCAT. Some members are specialists in particular areas of law. See more about VCAT members.


P

Party

A person or organisation directly involved in a VCAT case, including a person or organisation that has brought the case before VCAT or who is defending claims made against them.


Points of defence

A statement from the respondent stating whether they agree or disagree with the applicant and what they say in their application. Also called a defence or statement of grounds'.


Practice note

Official VCAT guidance about our procedures to people using our services.


Practice note

A document at VCAT that details VCAT procedures, instructions, rules, processes and information. There are practice notes that apply across all of VCAT, for example PNVCAT1 - Common procedures. Some Lists have their own practice notes that provide specific information about processes, procedures and rules in the List.


Professional advocate

A person within the meaning of section 62(8) of the Act, and includes a legal practitioner (e.g. a barrister or solicitor) or a person who, in the opinion of the Tribunal, has had substantial experience as an advocate in similar Tribunal proceedings (e.g. a town planner in a planning matter or an estate agent in a residential tenancies matter).


R

Registrar

The officer in charge of the administrative section of VCAT, which is known as the ' registry'. See also registry.


Registry

The administrative section of VCAT that accepts documents that are filed with the tribunal and also handles some public enquiries. See also registrar.


Regulations

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Fees) Regulations 2016 (Vic)


Residual land

Residual land is land for the common use of all the units in a development.


Respondent

The party against whom orders or relief is sought by an applicant.


Rules

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2008 (Vic)


S

Seeking leave

If you hear or see the words 'seek leave' at VCAT it usually means 'ask permission'.  


Service company

A service company is a company that owns the land known as residual land.


Serving the application on you

When VCAT or the applicant sends you a copy of the application as part of the formal VCAT process.


Site tenant

Residents who own their own dwelling but rent the underlying land.


Statement of grounds

A statement from the respondent stating whether they agree or disagree with the applicant and about what they say in their application. Also called a defence or 'points of defence'.


Stay of proceedings

An order that a particular legal action stop. A stay may be for a fixed period, until certain events occur, or permanent.


Submission

A document that sets out your side of a case or dispute. It should be sent to all parties. Depending on the type of case it will be your responsibility or ours to send the submission to all parties. 


Subpoena

A VCAT order saying that a person must appear at VCAT to give verbal evidence or provide particular documents. See also summons.


Summons

A formal document issued by the tribunal which says someone must appear at VCAT on the date stated in the document. 


Suppression order

Also known as a non-publication order.

A suppression order is an order made by VCAT or another authority that ensures information is not published or released beyond those with a right to have it. For example, some hearings at VCAT may be subject to a suppression order and that means we cannot release audio CDs or transcripts of the hearing while the supression order is in place.


T

Tenancy

The agreement between a landlord and a tenant for the rental of a property.


Tribunal

A body, similar in procedures to a court, that hears and decides disputes.


V

Valuation authority (for Land Valuation cases)

A valuation authority is either a municipal council or the Valuer-General if the council has opted to transfer their revaluation responsibilities to the Valuer-General.


W

Written communication

Communication made in writing such as a letter, email or fax transmission.