VCAT appeal process

Stage 1: Lodge your appeal

To lodge an appeal:

  • complete an Application for Review form, available from the VCAT website.
  • submit the form to VCAT and pay the relevant fee.

Stage 2: Receive the Initiating Order

After you lodge your appeal, VCAT will send you an Initiating Order. This provides important information, including:

  • the date of the hearing
  • details of compulsory conferences or practice day hearings
  • time frames
  • the responsibilities of everyone involved.

For more information about the Initiating Order, contact VCAT.

Compulsory conferences

The Initiating Order may list a compulsory conference. This is an opportunity for the applicant, objectors and Council to informally discuss issues and potentially reach an agreement without a hearing.

Practice day hearing

The Initiating Order may list a practice day hearing. This aims to resolve procedural issues before a compulsory conference or a merits hearing.

Stage 3: Notify objectors

If anyone objected to your planning permit application, you must notify them of the following:

  • appeals that have been lodged
  • sufficient information to understand the nature of the appeal
  • a Statement of Grounds form for the objector to complete if they wish to be involved.

For more information about notifying objectors, contact VCAT.

Stage 4: Prepare for your hearing

To prepare for the VCAT hearing, you should collate all information to support your case.

If you're an objector, refer to your Statement of Grounds and any planning scheme controls that we considered. Our Urban Planning Department can advise you of the relevant planning scheme controls and policies.

We recommends you use VCAT templates for your submission. You can get these from the VCAT website

You can represent yourself or a professional for the hearing. Our Urban Planning team are unable to advise you about this.

Stage 5: Attend the hearing

Each party only has one opportunity to address the hearing. The hearing will run in the following order:

  • preliminary discussions
  • Council addresses the hearing
  • objectors and third parties address the hearing
  • applicant addresses the hearing
  • Council and objectors have right of reply
  • Council and all parties discuss what conditions VCAT should place on the planning permit, if it's approved.

Council’s role at the hearing

Council has two roles at the hearing:

  • inform the VCAT member of the history and details of the planning application
  • make a submission in support of its position.

Stage 6: VCAT's decision

VCAT can either:

  • make a decision at the end of the hearing
  • reserve their decision and issue a written decision within four to six weeks.

VCAT’s decision is final and binding to all parties. You have no further right, unless VCAT made a legal mistake in their decision. If there is a legal mistake, then you have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

For more information about any of the above, call VCAT on 1300 018 228.