VCAT COVID-19 Delays

Practitioners should be aware that VCAT has placed ‘on hold’ all planning matters listed for hearings from mid-March to the 15th May 2020, due to Covid 19 safety issues associated with face-to-face hearings. These matters will be re-listed, at dates yet to be determined.

VCAT is keeping all parties informed of adjournments and aiming to incorporate more video conferencing and telephone calls into their regime of hearing-types, as well as utilising ‘on the paper’ decisions (without hearings) where possible.

Clause 1 expects matters currently listed for hearing beyond May 15 may also be affected, as the Tribunal attempts to work through the backlog.

These delays, although frustrating, do present a great opportunity for permit applicant’s, whose matters are awaiting re-scheduling, to work with Council and objectors to resolve outstanding issues via without-prejudice mediations/decisions. Our experience has been that VCAT is very supportive of any genuine attempt to resolve matters prior to a hearing. Outcomes from such mediation processes, even if total agreement is not reached, are likely to reduce the number of outstanding issues and ensure the matter can be dealt with more expeditiously by the Tribunal. If you are seeking advice on how to ensure your VCAT matters do not stagnate, please do not hesitate to contact Clause 1 Planning.


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