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Dispute resolution

VSBC, VCAT and the courts

Differences between dispute resolution services

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 can’t 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 the dispute can’t be resolved, CPVV might refer the parties to the VSBC.

General business disputes

General business disputes don’t need to be referred to the VSBC as a first option. However, businesses involved in business disputes are encouraged to approach the VSBC for help.

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 might order the parties in a dispute to attend mediation to resolve the matter.

The VSBC doesn’t 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. We provide support through preliminary help and through our low-cost mediation service. You can apply for mediation via our applications page.

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.

More information

For more information, you can speak with a member of our team by calling 1800 878 964 or emailing us.


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