Following on from the above article, a recent VCAT appeal required the Tribunal to consider if it was possible to lodge a request for reimbursement of VCAT fees, pursuant to Sec.115ca, after the final Order for the appeal had been made.
In Le v Greater Dandenong CC  VCAT 491, the permit applicant did not seek reimbursement of the application fees at the hearing. Rather, an application was not made for reimbursement until after the final Order was issued by the Tribunal.
In an attempt to ward off the Sec.115CA application, Council submitted that the applicant:
… is required to apply for a fees reimbursement order by no later than the end of the final day of the hearing. It submits that, although section 115CA of the VCAT Act provides a presumption that an applicant is entitled to reimbursement of its fees, the presumption does not apply if there is no longer a proceeding on foot.
In response the Tribunal noted:
This submission is misguided. The presumption under section 115CA is for a fees reimbursement order under section 115B. Section 115B provides the Tribunal with the power to order reimbursement of fees ‘at any time’. This includes after the date of final orders. There is no provision that prevents an applicant from applying for an order after the conclusion of the hearing or after the date of final orders.
The Tribunal went on to award Mr Le’s reimbursement.
This decision verifies that applicants can make sec.115CA applications whenever they see fit. However, Clause 1 recommends they be made at the end of hearing proceedings, to avoid any unnecessary delays.
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