A new civil federal jurisdiction will begin operating shortly at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV). This jurisdiction will hear some applications previously heard by VCAT.

The change follows a Court of Appeal ruling in Meringnage v Interstate Enterprises & Ors [2020] VSCA 30. The Court found that VCAT is not a court of a state, meaning it cannot hear matters:

  • Between states, residents of different states or a state and resident of another state
  • In which the Commonwealth is suing or being sued
  • Involving the Constitution or its interpretation
  • Arising under any laws made by the Commonwealth Parliament

A legislation seeking to remedy this, was passed by the Victorian Parliament and is set to be proclaimed at the end of November 2021.

The legislation can be viewed here.

Amongst other things, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Acts Amendment (Federal Jurisdiction and Other Matters) Act 2021 enables MCV to hear the affected matters. Measures are also being put in place by both MCV and VCAT to ensure ongoing access to justice, with those who had applications struck out due to the ruling.

If VCAT determines it does not have jurisdiction due to the change in legislation, any fees will be refunded. The decision does not affect parties who are:

  • A corporation or State political entity
  • A resident of a territory
  • An overseas resident

Webex Invitation

In order to support practitioners appearing in the jurisdiction, the MCV will hold an information session at 4:15pm on Wednesday, 17 November 2021.

Webex details are below.

MCV Update | Federal Jurisdiction (Meringnage)

Hosted by MCV Judicial Support Services


Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 4:15 pm | 1 hour | (UTC+11:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Meeting number: 2650 781 8855

Password: 1234

Join by video system

Dial 26507818855@csvic.webex.com

You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Join by phone

+61-2-9338-2221 Australia Toll

Access code: 265 078 18855

Related case links:

[VicBar 4.11.21 email to members]
[Tax Month – November 2021Previous 2021] 9.11.21
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