Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal

Access to Documents

Access to Documents

 

The Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (the Act) allows for any person to inspect and/or copy documents contained on a Tribunal file, except for:

  • documents that the Tribunal has ordered remain confidential; or
  • documents that the registrar believes ought to remain confidential without the leave of the Tribunal (where the person seeking to access the documents is not the applicant).

 

What does ‘access’ mean?

‘Access’ to information/documents contained on a Tribunal file means:

  • inspection of documents on a file;
  • obtaining information contained in a document on a file;
  • obtaining information about the current status or outcome of an application;
  • taking copies of documents on a file; and
  • the subpoena of all or part of a file.

Access to information and/or documents contained on a file may be restricted because of a number of legal considerations, including immunity from publication, privilege and statutory protection.

 

What are ‘classified’ documents?

Classified documents may form part of a Tribunal file and require special treatment.  Classified documents for the purpose of requests to access information/documents contained on a Tribunal file include:

  • medical, psychological, psychiatric or counselling reports which have been filed on behalf of the applicant;
  • police briefs of evidence and related police documentation, including requests for criminal history information, correspondence between police and the Tribunal;
  • hospital records; and
  • other documents not filed by the applicant.

 

What are ‘non-classified’ documents?

Non-classified documents for the purpose of requests to access information/documents contained on a Tribunal file include:

  • the Application for Assistance form;
  • the Statement of Claim form(s);
  • correspondence to the applicant from the Tribunal; and
  • copies of any awards of assistance (Award Notices).

 

Procedure when request made to access non-classified documents

The following table outlines the procedure to be followed when a request is made to access non-classified documents contained on a Tribunal file.

Step  Description
1
2
  • If request is made by applicant/applicant’s lawyer, a registrar can grant access to the non-classified documents without referring the request to a Tribunal Member
  • If request is made by third party, a registrar must obtain the written consent of the applicant
  • If applicant does not consent to access, the request must be referred to a Tribunal Member for directions
3

 

Procedure when request made to access classified documents

The following table outlines the procedure to be followed when a request is made to access classified documents contained on a Tribunal file. Please note that the majority of requests to access information/documents contained on a Tribunal file will include classified-documents. 

Step  Description
1
2
  • The registrar may grant access to the classified documents (except medical, psychological, psychiatric or counsellor reports) with the consent of the owner or author of the document
  • If the owner or author of the document does not consent to access, the request must be referred to a Tribunal Member for advice as to whether a directions hearing should be listed
  • All requests to access medical, psychological, psychiatric or counsellor reports must be referred to a Tribunal Member for advice as to whether they think the document should be released
  • If the police object to the access to the police brief and related police documents because of ongoing investigations or criminal proceedings, a directions hearing will not usually be listed until after the investigations or criminal proceedings are completed
3

 

The access to information and/or documents contained on a Tribunal file will be at a time agreed with the registrar.  Documents and material contained on a Tribunal file may not be photocopied without the permission of the Tribunal.

 

 


© Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal, State Government of Victoria

Source URL: https://www.vocat.vic.gov.au/resources/access-documents-and-material/access-documents
Last Reviewed 28 Sep 2016