Wodonga tenants in disagreement with their Albury landlords now have an easier legal option available.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Acts Amendment (Federal Jurisdiction and Other Matters) Act 2021, now in effect, allows the Magistrates' Court to hear federal jurisdiction matters that VCAT cannot hear, such as issues between residents of different states.
Recent Supreme Court and High Court decisions ruled that VCAT does not have jurisdiction to resolve federal jurisdiction matters, leaving Victorians involved in such disputes without a clear avenue for resolution.
These reforms aim to address this gap. The scheme will make use of the court's online capability and circuit court services as necessary.
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Parties will be able to apply in-person, by post or by email and fees will be the same as if the matters could be heard by VCAT. Self-represented parties can seek assistance with their applications from the Magistrates' Court's self represented litigant co-ordinator.
The government said the Act also ensured that where VCAT had made decisions in federal jurisdiction matters in the past, those decisions remained effective - giving parties in those matters certainty that their rights arising from VCAT orders could continue to be enforced and that actions they had already taken were effective.
Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes, the member for Northern Victoria, said the amendments would help ensure no one missed out on access to justice.
"These changes will ensure all Victorians have a clear, low-cost pathway to have their disputes heard and resolved - including those that involve an interstate party," Ms Symes said.
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