Some of our team at Clause 1 attended a webinar, yesterday, hosted by the Victorian Planning and Environment Law Association (VPELA), where the Deputy President of VCAT, Teresa Bisucci, gave an update on the initiatives being undertaken by the Tribunal in the new COVID19 environment. The seminar provided interesting insight for applicants with existing appeals and those looking to lodge appeals.
Sincere thanks to both VPELA and DP Bisucci for the informative session.
Here are our thoughts on some highlights that permit applicants might find interesting:
- The Tribunal is advocating for legislative change to bolster Tribunal Members’ ability to direct expert evidence and cross examination, presumably to make this process more efficient, and
- Allow the Tribunal to limit the issues under contest at the hearing, without such a request being made by parties.
- The Tribunal is also looking to increase its ability to strike out applications that are considered baseless and without merit.
- Objectors’ appeals are now being listed for an initial compulsory conference, in an attempt to shortcut their determination times.
- More onus is being placed on parties to ensure procedural compliance, as a result of less matters being listed for directions-hearings.
- For matters that that were originally listed for hearing between March 17 – May 15:
- The Tribunal has sought to confirm if all parties consent to the matter being determined on the papers
- Where all parties have agreed, matters have been set down for determination without a hearing
- Where all parties have not provided consent, the matters will be listed for hearing between August – September. All of these matters will be heard via video or telephone conferencing and may be set down at short notice.
- All matters previously listed for hearing between May 18 – May 29 are to be re listed for hearings between October – November 2020
- Matters listed for hearing from 1 June will be heard via either video or telephone conferencing, as scheduled
- New appeals and requests for adjournment are resulting in hearing dates being reset in 2021
- The tribunal does not expect to contemplate resuming face to face hearings until 2021, at the earliest – however, there is no guarantee this expectation will not be extended.
A full list of VPELA’s upcoming events can be viewed here: https://www.vpela.org.au/
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