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What You Need to Know About VCAT
VCAT – the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – is a Tribunal established for the purpose of hearing disputes between two parties on a variety of legal issues.
What is VCAT?
The Victorian Civil andAdministrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a tribunal (similar to a court) but insteadof Judges or Magistrates, the matters are heard by VCAT Members. VCAT hearingsare intended to be less formal than a court. It was established to resolve small claims or legal matters, without having to go to court. VCAT is often the course of action to resolve disputes relating to real estate tenancies, small business issues, building and construction matters, and issues with guardianship and powers of attorney.
Is a VCAT application by best option for my dispute?
VCAT covers a wide area of matters and can help you resolve your disputes. These matters include issues relating to renting a property, disputes between landlords and tenants, delays in releasing the bond for rental properties, and other issues arising from renting a property, either as an owner or a tenant. This includes issues with the Department of Housing, and public housing disputes, as well commercial leases and tenancies. This further extends to mismanagement and misuse of funds from owners corporations, changes to subdivision plans, and disagreements arising from owners corporations decisions, or breaches of their duties under the legislation.
Other planning issues include hearing matters regarding development of land, particularly in relation to planning permits, subdivision or local council’s power to buy, sell and develop land for community use and enjoyment. This can also include matters about domestic building disputes, disagreements arising between employers and contractors, or between builders and architects or planners, as well as issues with builders' warranties and liabilities.
VCAT will also hear matters for small claims, regarding debts, consumer complaints particularly regarding the purchase or supply of products, and warranties and guarantees provided by goods or service providers.
Sometimes clients will need to apply to VCAT to hear matters that do not involve a dispute or disagreement. VCAT has the power to appoint guardianship and administration over a loved one who is no longer able to look after their own interests. This may be the case in instances where a person has a mental or cognitive impairment, has a disability that requires care and support, or is frail and requires more intensive medical attention and treatment. Often, in these cases, a guardian needs to be appointed so decisions regarding the medical care and treatment of the person can made, in their best interests.
A hearing at VCAT can assist with the following matters:
- Building and property disputes
- Civil claims
- Guardianship applications and disputes
- Human Rights
- Owners Corporation
- Planning and Environment
- Residential Tenancies disputes
How can a Lawyer help with my Civil case?
Although it is possible to self-represent at VCAT, having a lawyer prepare your submissions and represent you at the hearing could greatly increase your chance at success. A lawyer experienced in VCAT matters will be able to guide you and help you prepare documents, letters, evidence to support your side, and any witnesses you would like to speak about your issue.
SGM Legal has extensive experience in all types of VCAT disputes and matters. We can assist you with any aspect of legal issue, including appointments as guardians and administrators, assess the revocation of the appointment of an existing guardian or administrator, and, assist with matters of Powers of Attorney, particularly where there is a disagreement as to who is best place to be appoint a Power of Attorney.
We also are able to support landlords and tenants with issues relating to rental properties, notices to vacate, disputes over bond and bond releases, and difficulties in paying rent.