Thinking | 26 April 2018

High Court of Australia rules that VCAT cannot hear disputes where a party is not a resident of Victoria

Last week’s High Court decision in Burns v Corbett (2018) HCA 15 is likely to have far-reaching consequences for disputes in the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) where one party resides outside of Victoria.

The High Court held that section 75(iv) of the Australian Constitution provides courts with original jurisdiction in matters where parties are residents of different states and that a Court’s jurisdiction could not be conferred upon a state tribunal.

The decision in Burns v Corbett means that VCAT does not have jurisdiction to hear a dispute where a party to a dispute resides outside of Victoria.

This case is likely to cause significant issues for “retail tenancy disputes” because under the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) only VCAT, and not the courts, has jurisdiction with only limited exceptions. The decision may also have a retrospective effect and call into question cases determined in VCAT where a party to the dispute was not a resident in Victoria.

We recommend that landlords and tenants consider if a party to a retail leasing dispute is located outside of Victoria. If it is, VCAT may not be an appropriate forum and the litigation strategy should be revisited.

Hall & Wilcox is able to assist with providing advice on the implications of this decision including how the location of a company is determined or altered.


Related Practices

You might be also interested in...

Thinking | 22 May 2020

Amendments to the EPA Act as a result of COVID-19

In light of COVID-19, amendments have been made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) to assist businesses and landowners in dealing with disruptions caused by the pandemic. Our Property and Projects team provides a summary of three changes to the EPA Act that will be of benefit to developers, applicants and objectors by keeping consents alive and matters progressing through Court.

COVID-19 Thinking | 13 May 2020

Commercial Leases and Rent Relief in the time of COVID – the Victorian position

Victorians finally have some certainty about how the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct will be implemented in this State, with the COVID-19 Regulations enacted on 1 May 2020 (but operating with effect from 29 March 2020)[1]. The Regulations create legally binding obligations which are generally, but not entirely, consistent with the Code. Our Property and Projects team explain.