VCAT losers will soon pay winners’ fees

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Bill 2014 was passed by parliament this week. It will allow VCAT to order the losing side to pay the fees of the winner (but not their full legal costs). The Tenants Union is concerned that this will “cause further harm to a frequently economically disadvantaged section of our community”. On the other hand, the Consumer Law Action Centre says the impact of last year’s fee increases may be reduced, because winners could now have their fees reimbursed. A proposed amendment to require VCAT to specifically consider “financial hardship” before making a fees order was defeated.