Municipal Electoral Tribunal
What is a Municipal Electoral Tribunal?
A Municipal Electoral Tribunal is governed by a magistrate who is appointed by the Attorney-General, to consider disputes arising from local government elections. Tribunals are constituted under the Local Government Act 1989 (the Act), and are intended to provide a forum for the settling of such disputes. Under Section 45 of the Act, applications may be made for an inquiry into an election by a Municipal Electoral Tribunal. Such application must be made within 14 days of the result of an election being declared.
A Municipal Electoral Tribunal has the power to:
- Undertake a preliminary review of an application;
- Request any further information relating to an application;
- Amend or permit the amendment of an application; and,
- Order the inspection of, and permit copying of, documents used in connection with an election, subject to such terms and conditions as it considers appropriate.
All proceedings before a Tribunal are open to the public.
How to make an application
All applications to a Municipal Electoral Tribunal must be made in writing and must comply with all details as required by the ‘Regulations 123 and 124' of the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2016. All applications should be lodged together with relevant fees to:
Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
233 William Street
GPO Box 882
Melbourne VIC 3001
Providing evidence at a Municipal Electoral Tribunal
A Municipal Electoral Tribunal is a judicial body which relies solely on evidence brought before it by the parties involved in a hearing. The tribunal is not an investigatory body and therefore it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide sufficient evidence. The tribunal is not bound by the rules of evidence and must act without regard to technicalities or legal forms. Applicants must present all their evidence at the time of the hearing and produce any witnesses they wish to call.
Evidence may be provided:
- Orally or in writing; and,
- May be given under oath or affirmation
Evidence given before a Municipal Electoral Tribunal may not be used in any civil or criminal proceedings other than those proceedings for a perjury offence or any other offence under the Local Government Act 1989.
Contempt of a Tribunal
A person will be found to be in contempt of a Municipal Electoral Tribunal if they engage in any of the following actions:
- Insulting a member of a Tribunal in or in relation to the exercise of the powers or functions of a member; or
- Creating a disturbance or taking part in creating or continuing a disturbance in or near a place where a Tribunal is sitting; or
- Performing any other act that would if a Tribunal were a Court of Record, constitute contempt of that Court.
Anyone found to be in contempt of a Municipal Electoral Tribunal through any of the above actions may be subject to a penalty of 10 penalty units or up to 3 months imprisonment.