There might come a time when your professional licence is at risk due to a legal case that has been brought against you. You will often find that both the government and licencing bodies here in Australia have the ability to revoke professional licences which could jeopardise your career and your ability to earn money.
If you have been through this process, you have the ability to launch an appeal which gives you the opportunity to contest the decision with the presentation of a counter argument of your choice. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of this appeal process, providing you with the best chances possible of regaining your licence to practise.
What is VCAT?
The acronym stands for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal which was formed to oversee and review judicial processes that are now subject to appeal. Every citizen has the legal right to have their case reviewed, giving them the opportunity to establish themselves as fit and proper to practise, hopefully resulting in them regaining their licence.
Who Is the VCAT Process Suitable For?
In this example, there are several groups of professionals who will usually be eligible to challenge a decision through VCAT. They include but are not limited to;
- Medical practitioners who may have been struck off including nurses, doctors and physiotherapists.
- Legal professionals such as lawyers, solicitors and barristers and paralegals.
- Property professionals such as real estate agents and property managers.
- Childcare practitioners who have been denied the ability to work with children.
Essentially any profession that requires a professional licence is eligible to proceed through the VCAT process and have their case heard.
What is Involved?
The process involves taking a fresh look at your case, examining what lead you to lose your licence. The process is without prejudice and will only look at the facts, allowing you to state your case and demonstrate the integrity of your character.
Any original decision would have been based on relevant legislation so you should expect this legislation to form the basis of your hearing.
Can I Represent Myself?
You can but it isn’t always advised. As we mentioned previously, there will be a significant legal aspect to your hearing so you should be prepared for the legal terminology to suit. If you are not experienced in matters of the law, we would suggest appointing a legal representative to act on your behalf. We would consider contacting a specialist VCAT Lawyer in Melbourne who offer their services to those who need them. It might be the most sensible course of action to at least seek their advice in the first instance and gain a feeling of how your hearing might progress.
If you think legal representation could benefit you, simply appoint the lawyer you have been consulting with who will prepare your casefile for you and instruct you on the best way to proceed.
If all goes to plan, your licence will be reinstated, leaving you free to continue to practise in your chosen field.