VCAT returns to in-person planning and valuation hearings

23 November 2022
Andrea Towson, Partner, Melbourne

After more than 2 years of online hearings, this week VCAT reintroduced in-person planning and valuation hearings where appropriate. This Gadens planning update provides an overview of what hearings will now be held in person, what we can except in the hearing rooms and the COVID-19 safety measures that have been implemented.

What hearings and compulsory conferences will now be held in person?

The following VCAT planning and valuation proceedings will now be held in person, instead of online:

  • compulsory conferences listed for one day (or more)
  • hearings of three of more days
  • matters requiring an interpreter
  • original jurisdiction applications (but not section 87A Planning and Environment Act matters unless they are captured by another criteria)
  • compulsory conferences for section 82 applications
  • compulsory conferences and hearings for environment and resources fixture
  • one-day compulsory conferences in land valuation matters

From Monday, 12 December 2022, any land valuation hearings scheduled for three or more days, will be converted to in person hearings.

How will in-person hearings be conducted?

Consistent with the case management protocols which applied to online hearings, VCAT will no longer accept any material in paper format.

All material a party wishes to rely on during an in-person hearing (including written submissions and evidence) must be submitted electronically to VCAT and all parties ahead of the hearing.

Practitioners will need to bring their own equipment (including charging devices) to present their case electronically at the in-person hearing. This includes a laptop and any additional computer screens that may be required to display content onto a big screen in the hearing and compulsory conference rooms.  VCAT will have Wi-Fi available on the bar table.

Who can attend the in-person hearing?

You can only attend the in-person hearing if you are a party to the case (i.e. the permit applicant or an objector party), expert witness or support person.

Interested parties – such as journalists or community groups who have formally been joined as objector parties – cannot attend the in-person hearing.

Upon request to VCAT and subject to availability, a Zoom webinar link can be provided for interested parties who wish to observe a hearing.

COVID-19 safety measures

Do not attend VCAT if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or have any symptoms of COVID-19.

It is a condition of entry that masks are worn in all publicly accessible areas of VCAT (including foyers, lifts, service counters, and waiting areas), unless a medical exemption applies. In hearing rooms, masks are recommended, but this is subject to the direction of the Presiding Member.

Authored By:

Andrea Towson, Partner

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

Get in touch