VCAT at the NJC
The Victorian Administrative and Civil Tribunal (VCAT) sits at the NJC to decide civil and administrative legal case involving residents of the City of Yarra.
Hearings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.
VCAT resolves disputes and makes decisions in human rights cases, for example by appointing guardians for vulnerable Victorians.
Where possible, VCAT helps people reach agreement but if an agreement can't be met, the case is decided at hearing using using the relevant law.
VCAT is not a court, but it is part of Victoria's court system. Tribunal hearings are adjudicated by a tribunal 'member', not a judge or magistrate.
The tribunal is less formal than a court and legal representation is not required. However, a lawyer can help you.
- Respondent: you have an application out against you
- Applicant: you have taken an application against someone.
- Tribunal member: hears the issue
At the hearing
Your hearing will take place in the hearing-room (this is also our Magistrates' Court room)
Applicants and respondent sit at the same table. Where lawyers are engaged, they also sit at the table.
The Tribunal Member sits at the bench (the higher table).
How to address the tribunal member
Call the tribunal members ‘sir’ or ‘madam’. If the member’s name is written in front of them, or you know it, address them as Mr or Ms and their family name.
Order of proceedings
You may be asked to make a formal promise to tell the truth. This is done by making an oath or affirmation. The member or a bench clerk will guide you.
The tribunal member will listen to everyone’s side of the story, and ask questions.
Usually the applicant speaks first and the respondent speaks second.
Applicants and respondent can question each other. This is called a cross-examination.
After everyone has been questioned, the tribunal member will make a decision. A decision, called an order, sets out what has been decided and what actions must be taken. Everyone will get a copy of the orders.
Most hearings are resolved on the day, often under an hour. But a second hearing can take place if needed.
Change of date (adjournment)
VCAT may not agree to change the date of the hearing, even if all the parties consent. VCAT usually only considers exceptional or unexpected circumstances.
If you need to request a change of date, make your request as soon as possible.
For more information about requesting an adjournment, contact VCAT directly.
VCAT at the NJC hears many tenancy issues. For more information about living in public housing, your rights as a tenant and other issues try these handy resources.