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Right to a fair hearing

Section 24 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the Charter) means that Victorians appearing before a court or tribunal – whether in a criminal or civil case – have the right to a fair and public hearing, and to have their case decided by a competent, independent and impartial court or tribunal. The Charter applies to public authorities in Victoria, such as state and local government departments and agencies, and people delivering services on behalf of the government.

How does the law protect me?

Under the Charter, Whether you are a defendant in a criminal case or a party to a civil case, you have the right to a fair hearing before a competent, independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law.

The Charter gives you the right to a fair public hearing, but the court or tribunal may decide to exclude media or other people from a public hearing if other laws allow this.

Under the Charter, courts and tribunals must make their decisions public. 

Can this right be limited in any way?

In some circumstances, one person’s right may come into conflict with the right of another person or group. In these circumstances, it can be necessary to limit or restrict these rights. Under section 7(2) of the Charter, rights may be limited in certain circumstances, but it must be reasonable, necessary, justified and proportionate.

While section 24 requires courts and tribunals to make their decisions public, in some cases, they may decide that this is not appropriate – for example, if a case involves children, a court might decide that it is not in their best interests for the decision to be made public.  

How we can help

We can give you information about Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities but the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission does not handle complaints related to the Charter.

If you would like more information about the Charter and your rights contact us.

For information about the legal history of this right, case law or Australia’s human rights framework, you can read more in our Policy and Legal sections of this website.

How to make a human rights complaint

If you think your human rights have been breached, you should contact the Victorian Ombudsman.

If you want to make a complaint about police conduct, contact the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

Reception
1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

Interpreters
1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and deep connection to the land.

We acknowledge that the Commission is on the land of the Kulin Nation and pay our respects to Elders past and present.