VSBC, VCAT and the courts
There are a few key differences between the dispute resolution services provided by the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC), the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and the courts.
Some disputes must first be referred to the VSBC before they can be heard by VCAT. These include disputes between:
- Tenants and landlords (about retail leases)
- Owner drivers, forestry contractors and their hirers
Farmers and farm debt disputes
Where a farmer is in default under a farm debt, the creditor must notify the farmer that they have a right to request the matter be referred to the VSBC. Where the farmer exercises this right, the creditor cannot proceed with enforcement action until a satisfactory mediation is held through the VSBC.
Taxi, hire car and rideshare driver disputes
Disputes between drivers and operators must first be referred to Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV). If unable to resolve the dispute, the CPVV may refer the parties to the VSBC.
General business disputes
General business disputes do not need to be referred to the VSBC as a first port of call. However, businesses involved in business disputes are encouraged to approach the VSBC for assistance.
What decisions can the VSBC, VCAT and the courts make?
VCAT and the courts are decision making bodies and their decisions are final and binding.
In some cases, however, VCAT or the courts may order the disputing parties to mediate the matter.
The VSBC does not make decisions about who is right or wrong in a dispute. Instead, we try to guide the parties to reach a solution that works for them and that they can agree to. This can be done through pre-mediation or by lodging an application for dispute resolution.
When should I go to VCAT?
If a matter is urgent and the parties are seeking an injunction, they can go directly to VCAT or the courts. General business disputes can also be taken directly to VCAT or the courts.