Prohibitions in making an application to Tribunal

knav2013 made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney-General's Department

Attorney-General's Department did not have the information requested.

From: knav2013


Dear Attorney-General's Department,

You do not need to respond to this question, as you have previously indicated that you lack jurisdiction to answer or transfer requests (questions) that can be dealt with by state agencies.

However, this particular question(s) could well be applicable to all states (their respective Tribunals), not just Victoria.

1. How many applicants (persons) are currently prohibited from making an application under the Residential Tenancies List at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

2. Does the prohibition listed in (1) always apply to vexatious litigants.

3. If so, does VCAT explicitly say this when someone is barred (prohibited) from making further applications under the Residential Tenancies List.

Yours faithfully,

Kushra Navartne

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

Thank you for your email. This is an automated response to advise you that
your email has been received by the Attorney-General's Department's FOI


If you wish to lodge a request for access to documents under the Freedom
of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), please ensure that your request is in
writing, states that it is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
and provides sufficient detail describing the documents you wish to
access. The FOI Coordinator will acknowledge your request within 14 days.



Kind Regards


Freedom of Information and Privacy Section.


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Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

This request was reported as needing Administrator Attention, however reading it I'm not 100% sure why (I'm sorry, but I haven't gotten the email notification).

If you feel this request needs our attention, feel free to Contact Us directly via email -


Right to Know Volunteer

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Mark R. Diamond left an annotation ()

I reported the request for Administrator attention. Why? (1) Because it is not a request, it is a series of questions, (2) because it is addresses to the AGD, who cannot possibly answer it, and (3) because the applicant himself (a) doesn't expect a reply and (b) knows that the AGD cannot answer the questions.

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knav2013 left an annotation ()

Good to see such a prompt response to my request by another RTK user.

Although a previous request to the attorney-general's department was rejected on the basis of jurisdiction, this one seems to come within thier jurisdiction. Please see:

However, since lodging this "request", (I use the word "request", if anyone becomes agitated by my synonymous use of question and request), I have contacted the Victorian Ministry of Justice to lodge an online request.

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Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

Thanks Mark, whilst the request may not technically meet the definitions of the FOI Act, I think it would help others who want to learn about and perhaps influence FOI in Australia

In other jurisdictions (such as the UK), this request would possibly be considered valid under FOI, where it doesn't work that way in Australia (something which I personally think should change).

Showing requests which aren't technically valid helps others to make requests which may be valid, and also shows flaws in the FOI system.



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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

Dear Kushra Navartne

Thank you for your email on 9 July 2014.

In referring to your previous FOI request sent to the Department on 15 June 2014, we replied on 23 June 2014 advising that the Department did not hold the documents you had requested. We informed you that if we did not hear from you in 14 days we would take it that you had decided to withdraw your request to the Department. 14 days passed without a response from you so we understood that you had withdrawn your request.

As a result, we are treating your email of 9 July as a new request. We believe that this email is not a valid FOI request. This is because you do not describe the documents you are seeking in enough detail to allow officers of this Department to identify them. Also, it is not clear from what you have said that you intend to make an FOI request to this Department.

In order to be a valid FOI request your request must:

- be in writing (email is sufficient);
- state that the request is an applicant for the purposes of the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (The FOI Act);
- describe the documents you seek in enough detail to allow the decision-maker to identify and find them; and
- provide an address for reply.

You may e-mail your request to [AGD request email] or mail it to:

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section Office of Corporate Counsel Attorney-General's Department
3-5 National Circuit

Under the FOI Act you can make a request to this Department for access to documents (except exempt documents) that this Department holds. We can’t give you access to documents held by another government agency. Information held by Victorian government agencies may be accessible under Victorian State legislation. Other States and Territories have their own legislation about access to government information.

Your email is requesting information about the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) which is a Tribunal established under a State Act: ‘Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic). You also mention that your questions could be applicable to all States and their respective Tribunals. It is unclear exactly what you mean as you only refer to information relating to VCAT.

The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department has no responsibility for legal systems in the States and Territories. This means we have no responsibility for State Courts and Tribunals.

This Department is a Commonwealth government agency and the FOI Act gives you the right to request access documents that we hold. It does not provide a framework for us to respond to general questions about our work or related issues. If you have questions about policy areas for which this department is responsible you might like to visit our website at .

If you would like to make a request under the FOI Act for access to documents that this Department holds please follow the instructions detailed above. More information about making an FOI request to this Department is available at this website:

We suggest you apply for access to documents in relation to VCAT through the Victorian State Government Freedom of Information website at this address: The information on this site applies to Victorian state and local government agencies only. This includes Ministers, State Government departments, local councils, public hospitals, most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities.

Kind Regards

FOI Contact Officer

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Office of Corporate Counsel Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
Email: [AGD request email]

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

Haply I re-read the annotation of Jul 12, 2014 of the applicant ( Also then I have read the linked document at

There are many references to "Attorney-General" in link. As the applicant implies, the Attorney-General is probably relevant to vexatious applicants. Yet I feel there has been a mix-up. The "Attorney General" in the linked document is the Attorney General of the State of Victoria and it is that person who might be relevant to prohibitions on applcations to tribunals.

Applicant might succeed to apply with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) ( to the Attorney General in that State with the same request as written here on Right to Know. Cost to apply is $26.50 (

Postal Address for A-G: Level 26, 121 Exhibition Street

Telephone: 03 8684 1111
Fax: 03 8684 1100

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knav2013 left an annotation ()

Dear Locutus,

What I was highlighting there by attaching the link to the Law Reform Comittee document, point 24 in particular was that "the Model Vexatious Proceedings Bill 2004 (“the Model Bill”), [was] developed by a working party of officials from all States, the Territories, and the Commonwealth under the auspices of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, and which forms the basis of the Queensland Vexatious Proceedings Act 2005. Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory vexatious litigant legislation provide for regard to be had to proceedings outside the Territory Courts."

I am not so much highlighting the last part, only that there was a standing committee of attorney general's for bringing together expertise that formed the basis of the Act. So, my point was that, would (should) this coming together stop there, just at the point where the model bill is put together. It was more about what happens it purely up to the state/territory Attorney General's or Victorian Bar, NSW Bar monitor similarities with other state's and territories.

The commenwealth Attorney-general (AG) monitors access to justice. Declaring someone as a Vexatious Litigant affects someone's ability to bring about Court proceedings. If a declaration in one state/territory prevents someone from commencing a court case in another state/territory, it does depend on the particular state/territory we are dealing with. Point 24 does say that only ACT and NT "provide for regard to be had to proceedings outside the Territory Courts".

So my request for the Commonwealth directly was to obtain documents with data specific to Victoria, and if she could supply the data for one state, she would have data for other states/territories. It seems, only the particular state/territory AG's have this data.

But then I am not convinced that the commenwealth AG is exempt from keeping track (as part of the access to justice element) of the levels of vexatious litigants across state/territories.

The document by the Victoria bar does give some indication of the numbers, although a request to the Victoria AG seems the next port of call for up-to-date data, I do not think the figures would have changed much.

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