The main role of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is to provide affordable, timely and quality access to justice for civil matters. VCAT hears approximately 90,000 cases per year, 60-70% of which are solved during mediation.1 An additional role of VCAT is to reduce pressure on the courts. It hears small matters that otherwise would create a backlog in the courts.
VCAT is inexpensive, partly because it does not rely on legal representation. Parties are empowered to reach their own decision by cooperating with each other and reaching a compromise. This compromise allows each party to obtain a just outcome, and allows the parties to, hopefully, maintain an ongoing relationship after the dispute. VCAT also allows parties to settle a dispute quickly. For instance, the Residential Tenancies List – VCAT’s busiest list – estimates the time from application to hearing to be just four weeks.2 The hearing itself usually takes less than a day.
VCAT, Annual Reports, http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/resources?search=&tid%5B179%5D=179&sort_by=title&sort_order=DESC ↩
VCAT, VCAT Performance, http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/about-vcat/vcat-performance ↩
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