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VCAT increases capped

Briefs

Cite as: August 2015 89 (8) LIJ, p.10

VCAT application fee increases have been  wound back to better facilitate access to justice.

In June, Attorney-General Martin Pakula announced the latest fee increase for applications to VCAT would be reduced and limited to a maximum of 10 per cent (including costs indexation of 2.7 per cent) from 1 July.

Under previous VCAT regulations, many commonly charged application fees to the low-cost tribunal were scheduled to increase again this year by up to 19 per cent. This would have followed increases of 43 per cent to 309 per cent between 2012 and 2014 to application fees for common matters.

The increase in fees has contributed to a substantial drop-off in applications to VCAT, according to the government.

VCAT is developing a proposal for a new fee regime to start when the existing fee regulations expire on 30 June 2016. This proposal will be the subject of extensive community consultation.

“The fee increases scheduled under the previous government’s regulations would have made it excessively costly for Victorians to access justice,” Mr Pakula said.

“I’m winding back the fee increases and capping them at 10 per cent. We’re making sure VCAT remains a quick, low-cost and user-friendly alternative to the courts.

“Costs have increasingly become a barrier to civil justice in our courts and tribunals. The government is working to ensure that access to justice for Victorians is not diminished by unnecessary increases to court and tribunal fees.”

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