6 EASY STEPS TO WIN VCAT CASE

Urban Design Expert Evidence

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a resolution service for civil claims.  VCAT is also used as a Land Development and Planning Permits dispute resolution tribunal. In defending Land Development claims Urban Designer commonly prepares expert evidence for the subject site.

1. Intimately know your subject site, area, development project.

2. Prepare your presentation for under 15 min talking time in total. That is 3-5 A4 pages of content.

  • Write your content in the VCAT format provided template link
  • Create graphic comparison of measurable parameters and simplify them for your audience.
  • If you have time change your presentation to emphasize the flaws of other parties whose defense wasn’t strong or professional.
  • If you are providing Urban Design advice make sure you have 60% or more graphics compare to written content.

3. Listen to other speakers carefully and prepare question

4. Do not allow to be rushed

5. Make your point for the benefit of future users of the site, design or area

6. Submit brief findings

 

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Use attached template to compile your VCAT submission:  VCAT writing template

Following description is a snippet from the Town planning approach in presenting a VCAT case

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VCAT EXPLAINED

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a resolution service aimed at resolving disputes between parties in a fair and efficient manner. The tribunal process begins when a person or party files an application. To help settle a dispute, a mediation, directions hearing or compulsory conference may take place depending on the case, however, many cases proceed to a hearing.

Hearings give parties the opportunity to call or give evidence, ask questions of witnesses and make submissions. At the end of the hearing, a member of VCAT either gives a decision on-the-spot, or writes a decision after the hearing and delivers the decision as soon as possible.

Hearings are usually conducted at 55 King Street, Melbourne. VCAT decisions can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Victoria but only on questions of law.

VCAT’s Planning and Environment List hears and decides applications by individuals and bodies involving disputes over the use and/or development of land. Most matters fall under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 legislation. For example:

  • Review a decision by a municipal council to refuse you a planning permit
  • Review a failure by a municipal council to decide your planning permit application within time
  • Review conditions included by a municipal council in a planning permit it has granted
  • Review a decision by a municipal council to grant a planning permit if you objected to the council against the grant of a permit
  • Amend or cancel a planning permit.

When reviewing the decision of a council to grant a new permit, VCAT’s role is to reconsider the whole application afresh on its merits. The tribunal has all the powers of the decision maker in relation to the matter. In making its decision, VCAT has the power to:

  • Affirm the original decision
  • Vary the original decision
  • Set aside the original decision and substitute its own decision.

The Tribunal’s main focus is to consider the merits of the case before it and to make a decision such as, whether a planning permit should be granted or not. When reviewing a decision of a council or similar body, the Tribunal considers:

  • The legal framework
  • Council’s planning
  • The relevant policies
  • All objections to the grant of a permit.

Time limits are important. It is vital to make sure that an application form is completed and mailed so that it will arrive before or on the required date. A fee must accompany the application.

Our practice has gained significant experience during recent years representing applicants and objectors in varied cases. Contrary to some people belief, there is no need for a legal representation in most cases; it is actually clearly preferred by the tribunal members to keep the discussion at the planning level and merits, and not carry the discussion into a legal ‘circus’, as this is not a criminal hearing…

Please feel free to contact us for any further inquiry or consultation request.

 

 

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