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Agency VA 4146
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
About this Agency Records Related Functions Related Agencies
Date Range: 1998 - cont
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
Background

The tribunal system was developed as an alternative to the more rigorous structure of the court system. It was an attempt to solve disputes in specialist areas where the courts previously applied general principles, in a much simpler and inexpensive way, often without the need for legal representation.

During the 1980s the tribunal system expanded quickly. Although the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was established in 1984 to create a central structure for the hearing of administrative matters, tribunals were often established with separate administrations and procedures.

The process of reforming the tribunal systems began in 1995 with a paper entitled Tribunals in the Department of Justice: A principled approach. The research advocated the establishment of a new system of arrangement that would bring greater consistency in the way tribunals approached matters.

Function

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal was established under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 as part of a package of reforms to improve the operation of the justice system. A number of tribunals were amalgamated standardising procedures and diminishing the enormous overlap that existed.

VCAT was created to offer a one-stop shop dealing with a range of disputes in its two divisions Civil and Administrative. The Civil division solves adversarial disputes in relation to consumer matters, credit, discrimination, domestic building works, guardianship and administration as well as residential and retail tenancies. It is made of the following lists that specialise in particular types of cases:

Anti-Discrimination List
Civil Claims List
Credit List
Domestic Building List
Guardianship List
Residential Tenancy List
Retail Tenancy List

The Administrative division ideals with disputes between people and the government in relation to land valuation, licenses to carry on business, planning, state taxation and other government decisions such as freedom of information issues and Transport Accident Commission decisions. It consists of the following lists:

General List
Land Valuation List
Occupational and Business Regulation List
Planning List
Taxation List

Before VCAT was established these matters were dealt with by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, the Credit Tribunal, the Domestic Building Tribunal, the Guardianship and Administration Board, the Residential Tenancies Tribunal and the Small Claims Tribunal.

The members of the former tribunals were transferred to VCAT.

Structure

VCAT has a five tiered hierarchy of members. Part V of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Act 1998 provided for the appointment of a Supreme Court judge as President of the Tribunal (for a period of no more than five years). The President is to be assisted by two Vice-Presidents who are County Court judges. Deputy Presidents (as many as required for the proper functioning of the Tribunal) are appointed and manage one or more lists. There are also senior and ordinary members who work on a full time, part time or sessional basis. Members are allocated to Lists. However, members can be allocated matters from other Lists (provided that they have appropriate qualifications) to allow for the most efficient use of members time and expertise.

Dispute Resolution

When a hearing is held, it takes place before a member of VCAT. Hearings are conducted in a relatively informal atmosphere and parties have the opportunity to call or give evidence, ask questions of witnesses and make submissions.

Parties can put their case directly to VCAT themselves or, in some circumstances, VCAT can allow the use of a lawyer or professional advocate to help settle the matter. In limited circumstances parties are automatically allowed to have a legal representative or professional advocate. At the end of a hearing, the Tribunal makes a decision. If any party remains unsatisfied with the Tribunals decision they can lodge an appeal, on a question of law, with the Supreme Court.

 
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Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
1969 - cont Register of Determinations, Planning Appeals VPRS 15563 North Melbourne Open
1978 - 2000 Register of Exemptions, Equal Opportunity Board VPRS 16202 North Melbourne Open
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
1998 - cont Administrative appeals VF 366
1998 - cont Welfare agencies VF 494
1998 - cont Welfare services (neglected children - registration of homes for) VF 497
1998 - cont Transport accident compensation appeals VF 55
1998 - cont Charities, public (inspection of) VF 300
1998 - cont Taxation appeals VF 365
1998 - cont Planning appeals VF 242
1998 - cont Rent control - prescribed premises VF 470
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
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Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
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Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
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Related AgenciesRelated Agencies
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1998 - cont Law VRG 19
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