The Racing Legislation Amendment (Racing Integrity Assurance) Act 2009 (“The Act”) amends the Racing Act 1958. It provides for new rights to apply for review by VCAT (The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal). The Act provides that from 1 March 2010 VCAT can be asked to review decisions made by Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Boards, including the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (HRV RAD BOARD).
What type of decisions can VCAT review?
VCAT can review a decision made by the HRV RAD Board where a person whose interests are affected by a decision or a Steward applies to VCAT for review of the particular decision.
How is an application to VCAT for review made?
A person applying for review must complete and lodge with VCAT an application for review of a decision. Contact details for VCAT in regards to any queries regarding this process are provided below.
Are there any Fees?
A fee must be paid or an application for waiver submitted where a person whose interests are affected by a decision made by the HRV RAD Board applies to VCAT for review of the decision. As at date of publication, the fee is $525.60 but this amount is subject to change. Please consult the VCAT website to obtain the appropriate fee or access the fee waiver documentation.
Who are the parties to an application?
The parties to the proceeding are “the Applicant” (the person who made the application for review) and “the Respondent” (the Board that made the decision to be reviewed). VCAT can add or join other persons as parties if, for example, VCAT considers that their interests are affected by the proceeding.
What happens when applications are lodged with VCAT?
When an application for review of a decision is lodged with VCAT, the Registry will register the application and allocate a proceeding number. VCAT will notify the parties that the application for review has been received and will ordinarily notify them of the date, time and venue for a Directions Hearing. A Directions Hearing is usually scheduled 4-6 weeks from lodgement of application to allow the Respondent time to file and serve what is called “a section 49 statement” (see below).
What is a Section 49 Statement?
A “section 49 statement” is a statement made in compliance with section 49 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (“the VCAT Act”).
A person who is entitled to apply for review may make a request in writing to the decisionmaker( HRV RAD Board) to give a statement of reasons for its decision if one has not already been given. Generally, the decision-maker will have 28 days to provide the statement. The statement must set out the reasons for the decision and the findings on material questions of fact that led to the decision, referring to the evidence or other material on which those findings were based.
If the person applies to VCAT for review of the decision, section 49 then requires the respondent to lodge with VCAT a statement of the reasons it has given and a copy of every other document in its possession that it considers is relevant to the review of the decision. This “section 49 statement” must be lodged within 28 days after the day the decision-maker received notice of the application for review.
The respondent should lodge one copy with VCAT and serve a copy on the applicant.
How is the Tribunal constituted in these matters?
In many matters that are allocated to the Occupational and Business Regulation List, a single Member who is a “legal practitioner” within the meaning of the VCAT Act constitutes the Tribunal. The President of VCAT, who is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, determines how the Tribunal is to be constituted for the purposes of each proceeding. VCAT also has power to make Rules about how the Tribunal must be constituted.
What happens at a Directions Hearing?
A Directions Hearing is conducted by a Member of VCAT. The purpose of the directions hearing is to set a timetable for the filing and service of all material to be relied upon at the hearing and to set a date for the actual hearing. It also allows the Member to make directions regarding any special procedural issues requiring attention, and to answer any questions about the conduct of the matter. The Directions hearing deals with preliminary matters, not with the substance of the application for review. No evidence is taken at a Directions Hearing.
The parties must attend the Directions Hearing. The parties can attend “in person” (that is, the people who are the parties can attend) or they can have a lawyer or other representative attend on their behalf. The Member of VCAT conducting the Directions Hearing will try to ensure that those attending understand what is happening.
VCAT will send the parties a copy of the order containing the directions soon after the Directions Hearing. The directions will generally set out the dates by which the parties have to prepare documents regarding the application, and any other relevant matters.
Can decisions of VCAT be appealed?
Decisions of VCAT can be appealed only on a question of law and a party needs leave. If a judicial member of VCAT (that is a Justice of the Supreme court or Judge of the County Court) makes the decision, leave to appeal must be given by the Court of Appeal. If another member of VCAT makes the decision, leave to appeal must be given by the Supreme Court.
Can a decision of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board be stayed (suspended) pending the VCAT hearing?
The making of an application to VCAT for review does not affect the operation of a Board’s decision, but VCAT has power to order that the operation of the decision be stayed (suspended).
Any party can apply for a stay but VCAT can make the order on its own initiative. For this purpose, VCAT will ordinarily schedule a hearing at short notice and give notice to the parties.
It the case is urgent, VCAT can consider an application for a stay at any time. The person applying for a stay should first contact VCAT by telephone and may be required to send further information by fax or email.
KEY CONTACT INFORMATION
VCAT: Postal Address: GPO Box 5408 Melbourne Vic 3001
Administrative Division – Occupational and Business Regulation List
Telephone: 9628 9755
Fax: 9628 9788