• VCAT

November 2, 2018

Thinking of going to VCAT? Here are some vital statistics

Recently, we have seen an increase in enquiries to our office from people wanting to take their Council to VCAT over restrictive permit conditions or refusals.

So, we thought it would be interesting to find out some statistics relating to successes at VCAT for applicants taking on Council.  Below are results as recorded on the Victorian State Government website for VCAT hearings in the previous Financial Year 2017 -2018.  We have narrowed the information down to the five Councils that we work in the most: Banyule; Boroondara; Glen Eira; Knox; and Monash.


Total number of cases heard: 32

Cases affirmed (won by Council): 7 (22%)

Cases varied (changes made to application but ultimately approved): 9 (28%)

Cases set aside (won by applicant): 16 (50%)

Cases withdrawn (withdrawn before hearing): 0 (0%)

Cases Remitted (sent back to the Responsible Authority for further consideration) 0 (0%)


Total number of cases heard: 99

Cases affirmed: 26 (27%)

Cases varied: 25 (25%)

Cases set aside: 41 (41%)

Cases withdrawn: 7 (7%)

Cases Remitted 0 (0%)

Glen Eira

Total number of cases heard: 127

Cases affirmed: 17 (13%)

Cases varied: 43 (34%)

Cases set aside: 61 (48%)

Cases withdrawn: 4 (3%)

Cases Remitted 2 (2%)


Total number of cases heard: 42

Cases affirmed: 14 (33%)

Cases varied: 6 (14%)

Cases set aside: 21 (50%)

Cases withdrawn: 1 (3%)

Cases Remitted 0  (0%)


Total number of cases heard: 149

Cases affirmed: 99 (66%)

Cases varied: 39 (26%)

Cases set aside: 11 (8%)

Cases withdrawn: 0 (0%)

Cases Remitted 0 (0%)

So what does that tell us?  Overall, against Council, applicants have won their cases outright 36% of the time. This is a decrease from last year which was 43%. Applicants have had their applications varied but approved through VCAT 27% of the time.  Councils have been overturned 34% of the time.  This figure is somewhat misleading overall as readers will note that Glen Eira Council has a success rate at VCAT of 13% against Monash with a success rate of 66%. 

This tells us that Councils have very different success rates to each other. Just like the last financial year it appears to be a lot more challenging to take Monash to VCAT over a refusal than the other councils listed… or does it?

Let’s have a look at CS Town Planning Service’s VCAT statistics for the same period. 

In the last financial year we represented clients in seven VCAT hearings. One of the hearings was against Casey, one against Whitehorse. The other five hearings were against Monash. We won six out of seven cases. Meaning our clients came away with an approval for their development in over 85% of the cases we took to VCAT. 

If you look at the statistics above, you will note that Monash had eleven cases set aside at VCAT in the last financial year, with CS Town Planning Services’ clients making up 36% of those which is over a third of all cases set aside at VCAT! That gives us a success rate against Monash of 80% which is quite remarkable given that only 34% of all cases against Monash were set aside or varied.

Like any appeal, you will always need strong evidence to support your case.  These may include alterations to the original application, including amending plans.  You may also need an expert witness to support your claims. 

Most importantly though, you need someone representing you with a track record and proven success.  So, if you are considering taking your Council to VCAT over a recent planning decision; give us a call for an informal and confidential chat today 03 9824 1902