Earlier today, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) announced that it will recommence fee recovery hearings albeit via telephone conference from today, 23 April 2020.
VCAT will notify the parties of the details of the scheduled telephone conference hearing beforehand and material supporting the application must be filed with VCAT two (2) days prior to the hearing.
That said, it is not yet known how much notice will be provided once a date has been allocated.
Summary of Proofs
The requirement to produce the standard affidavit in support of the owners corporation’s claim has been dispensed with. Instead, VCAT will accept a Summary of Proofs, similar to the document used in the Residential Tenancies List.
The Summary of Proofs must include the following details:
- a copy of all relevant fee notices and details of service;
- a copy of the final fee notice nominated in the application and details of service;
- the amount of the claim sought, together with the amount of interest, application fee and legal costs;
- confirmation that the respondent is the registered proprietor of the lot;
- details of how the fees were levied; and
- details of service of the VCAT application.
To view the document titled Summary of Proofs — Owners Corporation Recovery Fees, click here.
The Summary of Proofs can be signed and dated by the manager if they are appearing at the hearing. On the other hand, where a solicitor or advocate will be appearing at the hearing, the Summary of Proofs must be signed in the form of a Statutory Declaration.
Statutory declarations can be witnessed by a number of authorised persons, including lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, police officers, accountants and school principals.
Given that social distancing measures are still in place, and will be for some time to come, it may not be possible for the managers to have their Statutory Declaration witnessed. VCAT is yet to confirm how hearings can proceed where a solicitor will be appearing at the hearing and the manager has not been able to have the Statutory Declaration witnessed.
We’re here to help
For all fee recovery matters, including those currently with KCL Law, we will:
- prepare the Summary of Proofs in lieu of the affidavit;
- meet with you at our office to witness your Statutory Declaration if you are not able to have it witnessed by another authorised person; and
- appear at the hearing.
For any applications that are yet to be heard, we will be in contact with you to provide the completed Summary of Proofs once we have a hearing date.
Given the uncertainty in relation to notice, as outlined earlier, we recommend acting fast to ensure that your matters are finalised and ready once a hearing has been listed.
Note: This update is a guide only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.