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Section 51 - Information Commissioner may be called on to assist Tribunal

Guidelines

OVIC’s involvement in a VCAT review

1.1

If a person applies to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a review of a decision, the parties to the VCAT review are the agency or Minister and the person applying for the review.1

1.2

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) is not a party to the VCAT review, even where the review relates to a review decision made by OVIC.2

1.3

OVIC will only be a party to the VCAT review if the applicant made a request to OVIC, and the Information Commissioner made a decision on the request as OVIC’s principal officer.3

1.4

However, VCAT can ask OVIC to assist with a VCAT review, even if OVIC is not a party to it.4

1.5

OVIC can also apply to assist VCAT.5 In deciding whether to apply to assist VCAT, OVIC considers:

  • Whether there are significant legal questions that arise under the Act. For example, if the case involves a new or unsettled area of law, or it would clarify a disputed interpretation of the Act.
  • Whether there are broader implications for FOI policy and practice. For example, where the information rights of third parties not in VCAT or a strategic function of OVIC is affected.
  • The impact to VCAT and the parties to the proceeding. For example, whether OVIC’s issue is central or peripheral to the proceeding and whether OVIC can help VCAT by making new or informed submissions.
  1. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 54.
  2. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(2).
  3. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(2).
  4. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(1) and section 52(1A).
  5. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(1) and section 52(1A).
  6. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 54.
  7. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(2).
  8. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(2).
  9. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(1) and section 52(1A).
  10. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 51(1) and section 52(1A).

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Last updated 18 January 2024

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