Victorian Racing Tribunal FAQs
Transition from the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RAD Board) to the Victorian Racing Tribunal (the Tribunal)
Will my case be heard by the RAD Board or the new Tribunal?
The date a charge is issued or in the case of an appeal, the date the Stewards issue a decision determines whether your matter is heard by the RAD Board or the Tribunal.
Your case will still be heard by the relevant RAD Board if before 1 August 2019:
- you have been charged with a serious offence and the charge has only been heard in part by the relevant RAD Board, or has not yet been heard and determined by the RAD Board; or
- you have lodged an appeal against a Steward's decision with the relevant RAD Board and the appeal has not been heard or determined by the RAD Board; or
- any other proceeding has commenced with the relevant RAD Board and the proceeding has not been determined by the RAD Board.
What will happen to charges and proceedings that occur on or from 1 August 2019?
The Tribunal will commence operation on 1 August 2019 and has sole responsibility for hearing and determining appeals, serious offence charges or matters referred to it by Harness Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing Victoria or Racing Victoria (or their Stewards) on and from 1 August 2019.
What if my case is part-heard? Will I have the same RAD Board members for the rest of my case?
Yes. The appointments of the RAD Board members have been extended until all the RAD Board matters are finished.
Can I still appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)?
You can continue to appeal to VCAT for a review of a RAD Board decision if your matter was considered by the RAD Board. In this case VCAT can conduct a new hearing on both the facts AND penalty.
The right to have decisions reviewed by VCAT will be more limited if your matter commenced on or after 1 August 2019 and was considered by the new Tribunal.
Under the new system, VCAT can only review a Tribunal decision on the question of penalty and will not be able to conduct a new hearing during the review. VCAT will also be bound by the findings of fact made by the Tribunal.
Where will hearings be held?
Hearings will be held at 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. The Registrar will provide you with further details when they send you the notice of hearing.
Can I attend my hearing remotely?
Remote attendance at hearings will be possible by prior agreement with the Tribunal. You will be required to attend a designated and suitably equipped location in order to attend remotely. The Registrar will provide you with details of the facility you need to attend if the Tribunal agrees to you attending remotely.
How do I lodge an appeal with the Victorian Racing Tribunal?
A person appealing the decision and/or severity of the penalty imposed on them must complete the appeal form and lodge it with the Tribunal Registrar as outlined on the Notice of Appeal form.
The appeal must be lodged by the third calendar day (not business day) following the date of the decision the person wishes to appeal. For example, a Notice of Appeal must be lodged on the Monday if the decision the person wishes to appeal was made on a Friday. The time for lodgement will be extended to the next business day if the third day falls on a day that is a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.
Is there a cost to lodge an appeal?
There is no fee for lodging an appeal with the Tribunal.
What happens if I don't lodge my appeal in time?
If an appeal is not lodged within the required timeframe, the appellant must provide (in writing) an application to the Tribunal seeking leave to appeal out of time outlining the reasons for failing to lodge the appeal within the required time.
In accordance with section 50N of the Racing Act, leave to appeal may be granted if the Tribunal is of the opinion that the appellant has provided a satisfactory explanation for his or her failure to institute the appeal within the period specified in section 50K(2) or 50M(2) and it considers that it would be unjust to refuse leave to appeal out of time. The decision to grant leave is at the discretion of the Tribunal Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson and generally is only granted where exceptional circumstances are established.
Can I apply for a stay of proceedings?
A stay of proceedings may be requested by completing the relevant section on the Notice of Appeal form. A 'stay' effectively suspends in whole, or in part, the operation of the decision and/or penalty pending the determination of the appeal by the Tribunal. The decision to grant a stay of proceedings is solely at the discretion of the Tribunal and is not granted automatically.
What happens once my appeal has been lodged?
After the Notice of Appeal has been lodged with the Registrar, the Tribunal Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson will be notified and the matter will be set down for hearing. Any application for a stay of proceedings will be considered by the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson.
All parties will be advised of the hearing date and time and, if relevant, whether a stay of proceedings has been granted. Prior to the hearing, the Registrar will provide the appellant with any relevant materials. These may include the transcript of the Stewards inquiry, the race day Stewards Report, Race Results/Form and vision of the race or incident.
What happens at the appeal hearing?
The order in which the parties present their case to the Tribunal and the procedure adopted will depend on the type of proceeding and may be subject to the discretion of the Tribunal Chairperson. Generally, hearings operate in the following manner:
- The Stewards lead the evidence and make submissions in support of the charge and/or penalty by referring to the transcript and, where relevant, showing vision of the race or incident. They may also refer to the appellant's record and any other matters that they deem relevant in arriving at their decision.
- The appellant can then question the Stewards on any part of their evidence. An appellant may refer to the transcript and question the Stewards on their interpretation of the vision.
- The appellant will lead their evidence and make submissions to the Tribunal about why the decision or penalty should be overturned or reduced. The evidence relied upon to support their submissions may include reference to the transcript or outline their interpretation of the vision. The appellant may also raise financial or personal matters in mitigation of any penalty.
- The Stewards will then be able to question the appellant on any part of their evidence.
- Any witnesses that are called are subject to cross-examination by the other party.
The Tribunal may require a person to give evidence or answer questions on oath or affirmation. A Member of the Tribunal or the Registrar can administer the oath or affirmation.
Any documents or other material that are to be relied upon should be filed with the Registrar and the Tribunal prior to the hearing. The Tribunal may, at its discretion, allow certain documents or material to be tendered during the hearing.
When does the Tribunal make its decision?
After the parties have led their evidence and made submissions, the Tribunal will retire to make its decision. Generally, the Tribunal will hand down its decision shortly thereafter.
Where an appeal was made against the decision and the penalty and the Tribunal dismisses the appeal against the decision, the Tribunal will generally hear further submissions from both parties in relation to the penalty.
The Tribunal will then retire to make its decision on the penalty and hand this down shortly thereafter. For more involved or complex matters the Tribunal may decide to adjourn and hand down their decision at a later date.
The transcript of the Tribunal's reasons for decision will appear on the Decisions page of the Tribunal website as soon as it has been transcribed. This usually occurs within 1-3 days after the hearing.
Racing riders and drivers should note that if they book engagements for race meetings after the hearing date of an appeal, the engagements are booked on the understanding that if the appeal is unsuccessful, a suspension may begin immediately and the appellant will be unable to fulfil the engagement.
Can I withdraw my appeal?
If an appellant wishes to withdraw their appeal prior to the hearing, they must write to the Tribunal outlining the reasons for withdrawing the appeal.
An appeal to the Tribunal may not be withdrawn or otherwise not proceeded with by the appellant:
a) unless by leave of the Tribunal; and
b) except upon such terms and conditions as the Tribunal may impose.
In determining whether leave to abandon the appeal should be granted the Tribunal may consider the cost or time imposition already incurred by the Tribunal and/or Stewards.
Can appeals be made against fines of $250 or less?
Except as provided by section 50K of the Racing Act, an appeal cannot be made directly to the Tribunal where the penalty is a fine of equal to or less than $250.
An application must be made in writing to the Racing Integrity Commissioner, who operates independently of the Tribunal, requesting that the Racing Integrity Commissioner consider directing the tribunal to hear an appeal made by the person against that decision.
The application must be made no later than 5.00pm on the third day after the day the person receives notice of the decision that the person would like to appeal.
If the Racing Integrity Commissioner considers that it is in the public interest for the appeal to be heard and so directs, the Tribunal must hear and determine an appeal made by a person against a penalty imposed on the person notwithstanding that the penalty imposed was a fine of not more than $250.
Applications to the Racing Integrity Commissioner's Office can be lodged by fax to (03) 8684 7778 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a right of appeal to VCAT other than on the question of penalty?
VCAT can still review a decision made by a controlling body with respect to an occupational racing licence or a bookmaking licence pursuant to the terms of the Racing Act. These decisions do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal so are not addressed in this document.
What is a serious offence?
In accordance with section 50C of the Racing Act, the Tribunal in its original jurisdiction has the power to hear and determine charges that are 'serious offences' under the rules of Greyhound Racing Victoria, Harness Racing Victoria or Racing Victoria.
I've been charged with a serious offence. What happens next?
Generally, the Stewards will provide the person charged with a copy of the Notice of Charge and the brief of evidence (sometimes referred to as a Hearing Book) in support of the charge. The brief may include transcripts of interviews or inquiries, witness statements and statements from experts.
A copy of the Tribunal Procedures document will also be included with the brief. Prior to setting a hearing date, the Registrar will contact the person charged (or their representative if previously advised) to confirm any information relevant to the proceeding. This may include whether the defendant has engaged representation, an indication of the plea and whether the charge (or aspects of it) are being contested, along with any other relevant information, such as witnesses required.
The Tribunal will then set a date for the hearing of the charge/s and the Registrar will advise the relevant parties.
Will there be a pre-hearing conference?
Where required, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson may schedule a pre-hearing conference prior to the Tribunal hearing to discuss any outstanding issues or matters that are being contested. A pre-hearing conference is a meeting of the parties with only the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson present.
How are documents filed and served?
Further information will be provided shortly.
What happens at the hearing?
The order in which the parties present their case to the Tribunal and the way this is done will depend on the nature of the proceeding and is subject to the discretion of the Tribunal Chairperson. However, hearings generally have the following features:
- The Stewards, or a representative on their behalf, will lead the evidence and make submissions in support of the charge.
- The person charged or his or her representative will then have the opportunity to cross examine any witness called by the Stewards.
- The Stewards or their representative may re-examine any of their witnesses.
- The person charged also has the right to call, cross examine and re-examine witnesses
- The person charged and the Stewards have the right to call on subject matter experts to assist them by presenting on the relevant technical aspects of the case.
Following final submissions, the Tribunal will make its decision and if a charge is proved to the satisfaction of the Tribunal, it will hear submissions as to penalty.
For more complex matters, the Tribunal may decide to adjourn and hand down their decision at a later date.
Following the handing down of a decision, the Tribunal may schedule a further hearing to enable the parties to make submissions about penalty. In some circumstances, these submissions may be made in writing (sometimes referred to as 'on the papers') which means that a further hearing would not be required.
How do I apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of a Tribunal decision?
An 'Application for Review' form must be completed and lodged directly with VCAT along with payment of a fee.
Information regarding the fee can be obtained from VCAT's website.
The Application for Review (Form 1) can be downloaded directly from VCAT's website.
Applications must be lodged within 28 days from the date of the Tribunal decision.
If you have any queries, please contact VCAT directly.
Page last updated: 2 September 2019