11. VOCAT procedures and time frames for the making of awards



  1. 11.1 This chapter outlines the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) procedures and time frames relevant to the making of an award for financial assistance, including interim awards. Consideration is given to the impact of these procedures and time frames on whether an award of financial assistance can be made to victims of family violence.
  2. 11.2 This chapter relates to the fifth matter identified in the terms of reference, which requires the Victorian Law Reform Commission (the Commission) to review procedural matters to expedite the making of an award.
  3. 11.3 This chapter then:
  • considers how VOCAT’s procedures and time frames might affect victims of family violence differently to other victims of crime
  • poses a number of questions for consideration and suggests options for reform to improve victim experiences of VOCAT, including proposals to improve delivery of awards.

VOCAT processes and time frames

  1. 11.4 As discussed in Chapter 8, VOCAT applications commence by way of a written application in the prescribed form1 accompanied by documentary evidence.2
  2. 11.5 If the applicant has not reported the act of violence to the police, the form must be accompanied by a statutory declaration by the applicant setting out the circumstances of the act of violence and the reasons the matter was not reported.3

The investigation process

  1. 11.6 VOCAT has broad investigative powers under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic) (the Act). Under section 39, VOCAT may:
  • authorise a person to make any enquiry or carry out any investigation on behalf of the Tribunal necessary to furnish the Tribunal with the further information it requires
  • order the preparation and submission to the Tribunal of a medical report or counselling report
  • order a VOCAT applicant to lodge with the Tribunal, within a specified period, an additional statement containing particulars of matters specified in the order or any documents specified in the order.4
  1. 11.7 In practice, the following process is usually followed by VOCAT after it receives an application. The Tribunal sends the applicant a ‘Directions for Preparation’ form outlining the evidence the Tribunal will need to make a determination. This may include requests for:
  • a report from the applicant’s treating doctor if physical injury is claimed
  • receipts or invoices for the expenses claimed
  • a copy of the applicant’s police statement
  • copies of any intervention orders
  • a report from the counsellor if the applicant is seeking counselling
  • information about Medicare rebates.5
  1. 11.8 When requesting this information, VOCAT provides a date for filing all supporting material.6 Usually VOCAT requires all supporting material to be filed within four months of the application being received.
  2. 11.9 VOCAT seeks information from Victoria Police to help determine whether a crime occurred, as well as the criminal history of the alleged offender and the victim. It also seeks information about a victim’s injuries via medical records or from Victoria Police.7

Process for determining an award

  1. 11.10 After receiving documentation from the applicant and relevant parties, a directions hearing may be required to provide guidance to the Tribunal about matters relevant to the application. It is more common to request that an applicant’s lawyer attend a directions hearing than the applicant.8
  2. 11.11 During preliminary consultations, the Commission heard that the use of directions hearings by VOCAT members varied, including in the amount and particulars of the information requested and the purpose of the directions hearing.
  3. 11.12 VOCAT may determine an application with or without conducting a directions hearing or a final hearing. This depends on the preference of the applicant as well as the Tribunal’s need for a hearing.9
  4. 11.13 Once VOCAT has the information it requires to make a decision, the Tribunal advises the applicant whether a hearing will be held. Matters that proceed to a hearing are usually those where a victim has asked for the application to be determined by a hearing, or where VOCAT considers the matters to be complex and requiring the giving of evidence and oral submissions by lawyers. Around 25 per cent of VOCAT matters are currently determined at hearings.10
  5. 11.14 In practice, many straightforward applications are decided without the need for a hearing.11 However, as stated above, more complex cases are usually determined at a hearing and VOCAT has previously identified family violence applications as complex.

The time frame for decision making

  1. 11.15 VOCAT must act ‘expeditiously’ (that is, promptly) to determine applications. Under the Act, VOCAT has a duty to act fairly, according to the substantial merits of the case and as promptly as the requirements of the Act and a proper determination of the matter permit.12
  2. 11.16 However, VOCAT must also have regard to matters that can sometimes affect the time it takes to finalise an application, including:
  • awaiting the outcome of a criminal investigation, trial or inquest
  • the need for further enquiries to be made by the Tribunal
  • the need to notify the alleged offender about the application and provide reasonable time for the offender to respond
  • waiting for an injury to stabilise so that an accurate prognosis can be provided to the Tribunal
  • requiring additional time to identify and communicate with all related victims of a deceased primary victim to advise them of their right to apply for financial assistance.13
  1. 11.17 The Act specifically enables VOCAT to make awards even where there might be related civil or Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) matters that have not yet been finalised. Under section 32(3), the Tribunal is not prevented from hearing and determining a VOCAT application only because there is a civil proceeding, or a proceeding under subdivision (1) of Division 2 of Part 4 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pending.14
  2. 11.18 This means that VOCAT can still decide on the result of an application, even if there is going to be a civil trial, or if a court is going to decide a matter concerning compensation or restitution under the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic). However, VOCAT can adjourn considering an application if necessary.15 The Tribunal may adjourn the consideration of an application if there is a criminal trial or a civil trial that is related to that act of violence, and the trial is likely to be decided within six months.16
  3. 11.19 The effect of these provisions is that in practice, a VOCAT application generally will be adjourned until related matters in the civil and criminal courts have been decided. Applicants are advised that the Tribunal may wait until criminal charges are finalised before determining their matter.17
  4. 11.20 Where a hearing is requested or required, it usually occurs within six weeks of a VOCAT member deciding to conduct it or, if requested by the applicant, within six to 10 weeks of the applicant filing all supporting material.18
  5. 11.21 However, the Commission heard during preliminary consultations that where there are criminal proceedings pending, the practice of the Tribunal is to order an adjournment.

Interim awards for urgent assistance

  1. 11.22 Section 56 of the Act empowers the Tribunal to make an interim award of assistance pending the final determination of an application.
  2. 11.23 Applicants who need urgent assistance, such as financial assistance for safety-related expenses, can seek an interim award. This award can often be paid before VOCAT makes a final determination.19
  3. 11.24 Interim awards form part of the total financial assistance available for expenses incurred, or likely to occur, up to the statutory limit of $60,000, and must be deducted from the total amount of any assistance awarded.20
  4. 11.25 Since 2010, primary victims have been able to apply for financial assistance for safety-related expenses of up to $5000 without needing to demonstrate exceptional circumstances.21 Applications for financial assistance for safety-related expenses require supporting documentation such as invoices, receipts or quotes.22


Why is timeliness important?

  1. 11.26 Delays in determining VOCAT applications relating to family violence can have profound impacts on victims. Financial hardship can be a significant consequence of family violence and the economic impacts of family violence can impede a victim’s ability to leave an abusive relationship and obtain safety.23 Financial challenges are particularly acute at the point of separation, when expenses may be incurred for health, housing, child care and legal assistance.24

What is the current time frame for VOCAT awards?

  1. 11.27 VOCAT has implemented a number of initiatives to improve timeliness, including launching an online application form and setting up an electronic case management system.25 The use of judicial registrars is also designed to save time by reserving the use of magistrates for more complex matters.
  2. 11.28 Close to 50 per cent of all VOCAT applications are finalised within nine months.26 VOCAT’s website states that after an award of financial assistance is made, it can take up to six weeks for the payment to be generated.27
  3. 11.29 The Commission is not aware of whether interim awards are ‘fast tracked’, or are subject to the same payment process and time frame. However, the Commission notes concerns raised with the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (the Royal Commission) that even interim awards experience delays.28 The Royal Commission was advised that although family violence services operating in some magistrates’ courts have adopted procedures to make interim awards for urgent expenses related to security, relocation or medical bills, the administrative processes still result in payments taking a number of weeks, limiting their usefulness.29
  4. 11.30 Preliminary consultations conducted by the Commission also indicated that the interim award process was not producing timely responses for victims of family violence. Some stakeholders stated that where family violence circumstances are urgent, they no longer seek assistance through VOCAT as VOCAT delays affect client safety and do not assist with time-sensitive matters such as security or relocation.

Increasing complexity

  1. 11.31 Despite the efficiencies being implemented by VOCAT, the Tribunal has observed an increase in the complexity of applications, particularly relating to family violence. As VOCAT notes, ‘Applications for assistance for family violence offences are complex and continue to rise in number’.30 The Chief Magistrate has also stated that applications arising from family violence require additional sensitivity and ‘intense management’.31
  2. 11.32 In the 2015–16 reporting period, there was a 12 per cent increase from the previous financial year in the number of matters proceeding to hearing rather than being determined ‘on the papers’.32 This supports VOCAT’s observation of an increase in complexity of the applications being brought before it, as hearings are more likely to be required when matters are complex.
  3. 11.33 During preliminary consultations, the Commission heard that increased complexity affects the Tribunal’s timeliness because more information is required. The perpetrator may need to be notified and a directions hearing may be required. The Tribunal may also ultimately decide a hearing is necessary to determine the matter.

Other urgent financial assistance for victims of family violence

  1. 11.34 As discussed above, other criminal compensation or civil restitution avenues are unlikely to be a viable option for many victims of family violence.
  2. 11.35 However, as noted in Chapter 4, Victoria’s broader family violence service system provides access to some state-funded financial assistance that is comparable to some aspects of financial assistance provided to victims of crime under the Act. Most notably this includes assistance available under family violence flexible support packages (FSPs).
  3. 11.36 Some aspects of FSPs overlap with the assistance available through VOCAT, although the way a victim accesses assistance is different.
  4. 11.37 FSPs enable family violence services to access funds to provide victims with urgent and critical support tailored to their specific needs.33 Flexible support packages can be made up to $7000, with an average cost of $3000.34
  5. 11.38 FSPs are administered by community organisations across the four Department of Health and Human Services regional divisions.35 FSPs are only available to victims who have a case management plan and who are escaping family violence or planning to leave an abusive relationship. FSPs are not available to victims who wish to continue to live with the perpetrator.36
  6. 11.39 Case managers can seek assistance under a number of categories, including:
  • freedom from abuse and violence (which can include purchasing mobile phones, alarms or installing CCTV)
  • suitable and stable housing (funding travel costs, relocation costs, whitegoods, mortgage payments, utility bills)
  • physical and mental wellbeing (funding disability aids and covering pharmaceutical costs)
  • alcohol and other drugs counselling
  • family violence counselling
  • participation in learning and education activities (funding TAFE or university including books and equipment) or participation in the workforce (purchasing clothing, uniforms or travel support)
  • financial security and independence (payment of debts or financial services)
  • legal and court costs
  • support for social engagement, connection with culture and identity (funding a travel card, car repairs, driving lessons or cultural activities).37
  1. 11.40 FSPs are intended to assist victims to stabilise and improve their safety in a crisis or post-crisis situation. In this respect, there are parallels with VOCAT’s awards of financial assistance for safety-related expenses. However, the case management framework for provision of FSPs requires case managers to identify the ways in which the package will support the long-term health and wellbeing of the victim.
  2. 11.41 Support workers have emphasised the importance of FSPs to enabling a timely response: ‘Without the [flexible support] package we could not have achieved [relocation] in such a short time frame. This woman was with us for a month and we worked quickly to get this application in.’38
  3. 11.42 As FSPs are administered by community agencies via a case management approach, and agencies are not bound by rules of evidence like VOCAT, packages can be approved in approximately 14 days.39
  4. 11.43 During preliminary consultations, support agencies highlighted the importance of a timely and flexible response for victims in crisis. FSPs were described as more responsive than interim awards under VOCAT. Indeed, some services advised that they were directing their clients away from VOCAT and towards the use of FSPs for urgent assistance.

Timeliness of awards in other jurisdictions—a comparison with New South Wales

  1. 11.44 Other jurisdictions have also encountered barriers to providing timely and responsive support and financial assistance for victims of crime, including victims of family violence. This section examines the recent experience of New South Wales, which resulted in the reform of its victim support and compensation scheme in 2013.
  2. 11.45 An independent review in 2012 found that the objectives of The Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 (NSW)—to provide support and rehabilitation to victims of violent crime through counselling and compensation—were not being met. This was due to the significant delays in the provision of compensation, with an average wait of over two years.40 The system was described as ‘complicated’ and requiring expert medical reports and lawyers to pursue claims.41
  3. 11.46 The reviewers noted that providing practical assistance shortly after a person experienced an act of violence would better assist victims to begin their healing process.42 In particular, the benefits of early provision of funding for relocation assistance, security upgrades and assistance with medical expenses were noted.
  4. 11.47 The Victims Compensation Scheme was replaced in 2013 by a new Victims Support Scheme (VSS) designed to provide more tailored, timely and integrated victim support and compensation through the one scheme:

The VSS does not focus on specific injuries sustained by victims, but looks holistically at the impact of a violent crime on victims’ lives as a whole. The VSS focuses on providing victims with practical and financial assistance when they need it most. The new VSS has reduced the amount of lump sum payments previously available … and instead focuses

on providing with minimal delay a package of practical and financial support to victims of violent crime with a smaller recognition payment.43

  1. 11.48 The VSS provides for:
  • counselling
  • up to $5000 for immediate needs to cover emergency medical treatment, relocation expenses, crime scene clean-up, safety measures in the home
  • funeral assistance
  • economic loss—up to $30,000 including loss of earnings, out-of-pocket justice-related expenses
  • recognition payment—up to $15,000.44
  1. 11.49 One of the key features of the scheme is timely access to support and financial assistance. Assistance is now provided in just under three months compared to over two years under the former scheme.45

Timeliness of awards—effects on family violence victims

Delays affect safety and financial security

  1. 11.50 The Royal Commission heard that the time taken for a final VOCAT determination was too long. It estimated the waiting period to be frequently between nine and 12 months.46
  2. 11.51 Research conducted by Women’s Legal Service Victoria similarly found that victims of family violence experienced long waits for VOCAT matters to be finalised:

The current scheme does not adequately meet the needs of women who have experienced family violence. Women who would benefit enormously from payments of compensation—those left in financial hardship by family violence—have limited access to the scheme.47

  1. 11.52 Furthermore, Women’s Legal Service Victoria noted that awards of special financial assistance are only made as part of the final VOCAT determination, meaning special financial assistance in the form of a lump sum payment is rarely available when a victim is most financially vulnerable.48
  2. 11.53 In preliminary consultations the Commission was told that some VOCAT applications by family violence victims could take 18 months to two years to be determined. The Commission also heard that some family violence victims did not receive a final determination until four years after the initial application.
  3. 11.54 The Commission notes VOCAT statistics indicating almost half of all applications are finalised within nine months.49 It is possible that the complexities experienced in family violence cases are leading to the increased delays in the average time taken to complete an application in these matters.
  4. 11.55 Delays in determining VOCAT applications relating to family violence can have profound impacts on victims of family violence. Financial hardship can be a significant consequence of family violence, and the economic impacts of family violence can also impede a victim’s ability to leave an abusive relationship and obtain safety.50
  5. 11.56 Women’s Legal Service Victoria stated the important role of VOCAT in assisting women who are in financial hardship after fleeing family violence, in particular noting the importance of timely payments:

If the payment is timely, it may have a role in preventing entrenched poverty. Such a payment may assist with a rental bond for a new home, basic furniture, appliances or clothes that are needed after leaving the former family home.51

Discussion and options for reform

Delays entrenching economic disadvantage

  1. 11.57 This section of the consultation paper considers options for reform:
  • to streamline the process for victims of family violence
  • to clarify VOCAT processes and obligations under the Act to reduce delays
  • to improve consistency in practice.
  1. 11.58 This section also considers possible benefits of specialisation and integration of financial assistance with the victim support system.
  2. 11.59 One of the objectives of the Act is to assist victims of crime to recover from the effects of violent crime. However, delays in accessing financial assistance can potentially re-traumatise victims and in some cases, further entrench economic disadvantage when victims are most vulnerable.
  3. 11.60 Interim awards are designed to provide timely access to financial assistance, including for family violence victims. However, it is not clear these benefits are being realised for victims of family violence who urgently need financial assistance.
  4. 11.61 In preliminary consultations, the Commission heard that victims of family violence need swifter access to interim awards and earlier access to final determinations, including special financial assistance. One victim of family violence represented in the Women’s Legal Service Victoria’s research report asked whether there could be a ‘fast track’ for victims of family violence applying to VOCAT.52

The cost of lawyers

  1. 11.62 VOCAT is not required to conduct itself in a formal manner and is not bound by rules or practice of evidence like a court.53 However, the VOCAT process remains inherently a legal process bound by the provisions and procedures of the Act. This requires the involvement of lawyers and magistrates and the collection of evidence and submission of supporting documents.
  2. 11.63 The Victims Support Agency has reflected that ‘whilst VOCAT was established to provide resources to assist victims to recover from the effects of crime, it is not part of the victim service system, but an integral part of the legal system. VOCAT is therefore bound to follow legal rules and procedures in assessing claims and making awards.’54
  3. 11.64 In 2015–2016, VOCAT awarded legal costs (associated with VOCAT applications) totalling $5,095,278, an average of around $1000 per awarded applicant, demonstrating the high legal costs associated with the application process.55 These legal processes take time, can be costly and may be too onerous or overwhelming for many victims of family violence. This may be particularly the case when a victim might be at crisis point fleeing from violence, relocating or have sole caring responsibilities for children.

Lack of connection with the service system

  1. 11.65 The fact that VOCAT is a separate process—not part of a specialist family violence response or a case management process—is a further barrier to timeliness and accessibility for victims. Some victims may simply be unaware of VOCAT’s existence, which also impacts on the ability to provide timely assistance. Awareness of the scheme is further discussed in Chapter 13.

Family violence ‘triaging’

  1. 11.66 One possible solution for improving timeliness for family violence VOCAT applications is to implement an administrative ‘triage’ function in the VOCAT registry to assess and prioritise family violence applications.
  2. 11.67 This initiative would require additional funding and a specialist family violence coordination team. Given the importance of integrated support for family violence victims, it may require a case management approach that provides linkages and referrals to other specialist services.

Practice Direction—expedite the making of an award even where related matters not finalised

  1. 11.68 Preliminary consultations indicated that VOCAT awards are almost always delayed pending finalisation of related criminal matters.
  2. 11.69 One proposal is to develop a Practice Direction, consistent with sections 32 and 41 of the Act, which provides more guidance about when expediting family violence VOCAT applications is preferable. For example, a Practice Direction might provide a clearer presumption of expediting a VOCAT application when family violence circumstances exist and additional criteria are met. Although the Act already provides scope for this, the provisions in sections 32 and 41 create ambiguity about the circumstances where applications should be determined despite other related matters pending.

Family violence VOCAT list or specialist ‘stream’

  1. 11.70 Another option involves the creation of a separate VOCAT family violence list, similar to the VOCAT Koori List. This would create a different VOCAT environment for VOCAT applications arising from family violence. Like the VOCAT Koori List, it could adopt a case management approach and triage urgent matters more effectively in a specialist environment.
  2. 11.71 The intention of the Tribunal in developing the VOCAT Koori List was to develop procedures to ensure that the purposes and objectives of the Act could be achieved in relation to Koori applicants. VOCAT relied on the procedural flexibility and the informality afforded to it under the Act to respond with maximum flexibility to the particular circumstances of a Koori applicant.56 The VOCAT Koori List is a management initiative introduced by the Tribunal and it does not involve applying any different legal considerations to the determination of applications for assistance. All applications for financial assistance are considered and determined within the legislative framework of the Act. However, the VOCAT Koori List enables the Tribunal to be more responsive to
    the circumstances of Koori victims of crime who may otherwise have found it difficult to engage with the system.57
  3. 11.72 Specialisation would bring the benefits of increased collective knowledge and expertise into family violence VOCAT matters. It would ensure those dealing with the complexity of these matters are familiar with the needs of family violence victims and the nature and dynamics of family violence. The experience of the VOCAT Koori List was that specialisation increased cultural awareness and sensitivity to Koori issues.
  4. 11.73 A separate family violence list might also result in swifter final determinations, limiting delays between interim and final awards being made. Earlier access to the types of award made in final determinations might better meet the needs of this particular cohort of victims experiencing significant financial hardship as part of their experience of family violence.
  5. 11.74 Separate VOCAT streams have been previously proposed for other victim groups, including survivors of institutional child abuse.58 During preliminary consultations, the Commission heard that the introduction of specialist streams has significantly changed victim experiences in other courts, pointing to a radical shift in culture and attitude. Ian Freckelton has observed that victim compensation schemes are complex and should be recognised as specialised areas of practice.59

Appointing VOCAT-only magistrates

  1. 11.75 Given the increased complexity in matters coming before VOCAT,60 consideration could be given to appointing VOCAT-only magistrates. This would increase specialisation across all VOCAT matters—including family violence—but would not require the infrastructure of a specialist family violence list or stream.
  2. 11.76 The courts have previously highlighted the benefits of specially trained and assigned magistrates, in the management of family violence matters:

Having specially trained and assigned magistrates has strengthened ... the management of family violence matters. [These] magistrates ... have undergone specialist professional development to increase their understanding of the dynamics of family violence and … tend to become increasingly familiar with relevant issues and able to deal efficiently with matters.61

Administrative models

  1. 11.77 Consideration could be given to possible benefits of administrative models where commissioners or government assessors make determinations, such as in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
  2. 11.78 Further research is required to assess whether these schemes result in improved outcomes or timelier decision making for victims. It is also important to consider whether these schemes provide the same victim experience in terms of judicial validation and acknowledgment. These matters are further discussed in Chapter 14.

Hearing VOCAT matters during other civil and criminal hearings

  1. 11.79 Magistrates in the Family Violence Court Division have the ability to determine VOCAT matters at the same time as dealing with other civil or criminal family violence matters.62
  2. 11.80 A proposal could be to extend this power to all magistrates, regardless of whether it is a specialist court location. This would enable a magistrate hearing a family violence intervention order matter or a family violence-related criminal matter—such as a breach of a family violence intervention order—to make an interim VOCAT award to support the recovery of the victim. As the Act already enables awards to be varied and refunded,63 there is scope for further consideration should new information come to light later or the victim’s circumstances change.
  3. 11.81 Given all magistrates are also VOCAT members, this would not pose issues of lack of knowledge or awareness of the Act. However, it does move away from suggestions made at [11.70]–[11.74] for increased specialisation. This option might increase the number of awards for family violence victims, but may not necessarily improve consistency in awards, given there would not be increased specialisation.

Complementing other state-funded financial assistance

  1. 11.82 In preliminary consultations, the Commission heard of the more flexible financial assistance options now available for victims of family violence, specifically through FSPs.
  2. 11.83 Consideration may need to be given to improving the connections between VOCAT and specialist family violence organisations which provide state-funded financial assistance in other ways. A specialist family violence worker could be located within VOCAT as a support coordinator. This coordinator could make initial assessments of the specific needs of a family violence applicant and their urgency, and triage cases to reduce delays and negative impacts. Some applications for interim awards via VOCAT may be better suited to other state-funded support, such as FSPs. Later on, victims could apply to VOCAT for non-urgent financial assistance or special financial assistance.
  3. 11.84 A specialist family violence worker could liaise with family violence services and legal services to increase community knowledge and awareness of VOCAT and other assistance available to meet the needs of family violence victims in various ways.

Incorporating financial assistance with other victim support mechanisms

  1. 11.85 The integrated financial assistance and victim support model introduced in New South Wales in 2013 has substantially improved the timeliness of assistance provided to victims of crime. However, concerns have been raised that there are few victims of domestic violence and sexual assault accessing financial support under the scheme.64 The New South Wales government is currently reviewing the Act.65
  2. 11.86 Further exploration is needed of how VOCAT complements specialist family violence support and other victim support programs such as the Victims Assistance Program (VAP), and whether VAP and VOCAT could be more integrated.
  3. 11.87 It is valuable to consider to how the provision of interim awards could be improved by adopting the administrative and case management processes used in making other awards of assistance, such as family violence FSPs.
  4. 11.88 The Commission raises all of these options to prompt stakeholder consideration of the various ways in which timeliness could be improved. Some proposals could be implemented on their own, while others might be complementary or reliant on other proposals.
  5. 11.89 The Commission seeks the views of victims, persons affected, professionals, stakeholders and the community on these issues and options for reform. Questions are set out below.



  1. 37 What are the effects of the current time frames and procedures for the making of awards for victims of family violence?
  2. 38 How could the time frames and procedures for the making of awards to victims of family violence be changed to better meet their needs?
  3. 39 Do section 32(3) and section 41 require legislative change to better accommodate family violence victims’ need for speedy determinations? Or could a Practice Direction provide sufficient guidance?
  4. 40 What benefits could be achieved for victims of family violence by initiatives such as specialisation or a separate VOCAT family violence list?
  5. 41 What benefits might be achieved by enabling all magistrates to make interim VOCAT awards at the same time as hearing other matters? How would this work in practice?



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