55 King Street, Melbourne (www.vcat.vic.gov.au)
Established in 1988 and commonly known as VCAT, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear an extensive lists of legal issues such as guardianship, discrimination, health, mental health, building, debt, privacy, legal practice, owners corporations (previously known as bodies corporate), small claims and tenancy disputes. Furthermore, VCAT hears disputes about land valuation and planning, as well as government decisions taken under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
VCAT maintains an individual list of cases for every unique kind of legal dispute. A cluster of cases which involve analogous issues is referred to as a list; for instance, mental health, civil claims or land valuation. Before a legal dispute is listed for a hearing, VCAT persuades people to resolve their disagreements by attending mediation or a compulsory conference.
If a party became aggrieved by a decision of VCAT, the aggrieved party may appeal to the Supreme Court. However, in such cases, appeals on “a question of law” are considered only; appeals on “a question of fact” are not considered. In lay person’s terms, a person can only appeal a decision if the Tribunal wrongly applied the law to set of facts. A person cannot appeal a decision where they dispute the facts as found to be true by the Tribunal (which is the grievance that most losing parties have with the finding and judgment against them).