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How to lodge an appeal with the Firearms Appeals Committee

If the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police cancels your firearms licence, refuses your application for a firearms licence, imposes licence conditions or refuses to issue a permit to acquire, you may have a right to have this decision reviewed by the Firearms Appeals Committee.

The Firearms Appeals Committee is an independent statutory appeals body established under the Firearms Act 1996. It is entirely independent of both the Victorian Government and Victoria Police. The Department of Justice and Regulation provides secretariat support to the Committee.

The Committee only deals with the review of firearms licensing decisions made by the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police. For all other queries relating to firearms and firearms licensing information, contact the Victoria Police Licensing & Regulation Division (external link).

How to make an appeal application

The Firearms Act 1996 must give you a right to apply to the Committee to review a decision made by the Chief Commissioner.

You may wish to seek legal advice about whether you are eligible to apply to the Committee.

To make an application before the Committee you must not be a 'prohibited person'.

Prohibited person

You are a prohibited person if any of the following apply to you:

  • within the last 12 months you have been found guilty of an offence anywhere in Australia involving the possession or use of firearms, and it was open to the court to impose a term of imprisonment
  • you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment anywhere in Australia for an indictable offence, assault, drug offence or weapons offence; and
    • not more than 15 years have expired since you finished serving a term of imprisonment (if the term of imprisonment was 5 years or more); or
    • not more than 5 years have expired since you finished serving a term of imprisonment (if the term of imprisonment was less than 5 years)
  • anywhere in Australia you are subject to a final family violence order, final personal intervention order, community-based order or community correction order that has a supervision condition attached
  • you fall within a prescribed class of persons.

In some cases, you can apply to the court to be deemed a non-prohibited person. Check with the Magistrates' Court of Victoria (external link).

For further information see the Victoria Police website (external link).

To commence a proceeding before the Committee:

  1. Complete and send the Firearms Appeals Application Form to the Committee within 28 days of receiving notification of the Chief Commissioner's decision (e.g. to cancel your firearms licence or refuse your application for a firearms licence).
  2. Attach a copy of the Firearms Licence Cancellation/Refusal Notice sent to you by Victoria Police, Licensing and Regulation.
  3. Obtain a money order or bank cheque made payable to 'The Firearms Appeals Committee' for $42.70 (this fee is non-refundable). The Committee cannot accept cash or personal cheques.
  4. Send the documents outlined in steps 1, 2 and 3 to:

The Secretary
Firearms Appeals Committee
GPO Box 4356QQ
Melbourne VIC 3001

When you apply to the Committee you must also give notice of your application to the Chief Commissioner, setting out the nature and grounds of the appeal application.

The Committee recommends that you send a copy of the Firearms Appeal Application Form and any supporting documents to:

The Chief Commissioner
Licensing and Regulation
GPO Box 2807
Melbourne VIC 3001


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About the Committee hearing

The Committee will list applications for hearing at:

The William Cooper Justice Centre
223 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

A division of three Committee members, including a legal member presiding as chairperson, a member with expertise in firearms, and a community member, will hear the appeal application. In almost all cases, the Committee hears appeal applications in an open court. The Committee:

  • is not bound by the rules of evidence
  • may inform itself in any manner it thinks fit, and
  • may conduct the proceeding sin any manner it thinks fit.

The hearing will be less formal than a court proceeding. The chairperson will provide guidance to self-represented applicants at the hearing.

The general procedure of a hearing is as follows:

  1. Victoria Police will commence the proceedings by reading the reasons for the Chief Commissioner's decision.
  2. The applicant will then have the opportunity to speak and present their case by making a statement or (preferably) by giving sworn evidence. The applicant may provide the Committee with any written material or photographs that are relevant or bring witnesses to give evidence.
  3. Any relevant witnesses will be called and both the applicant and Victoria Police will have the opportunity to ask questions of the witness.
  4. After all parties have been heard, the Committee will adjourn the proceeding and return with a decision, unless the matter is complex and requires further deliberation. Written reasons may be provided at a later date.

Legal representation

You are not required to be legally represented at the hearing. Approximately 30 per cent of applicants are legally represented.

Adjournment requests

The Committee will only grant an adjournment under exceptional circumstances, and the Committee may require supporting documentation.

If you have another important commitment on the date or at the time fixed for a hearing you should notify the Committee as soon as you become aware of it. Adjournment requests must be in writing and made at least 5 business days before the scheduled hearing date. The hearing may be delayed until another date if it is possible to do so without unduly inconveniencing anyone else involved. Repeated adjournments will not be allowed unless there are compelling reasons.

Witnesses, friends and interpreters

You may bring anyone you want to your appeal. A letter can be provided if witnesses want proof of attendance for their employers. In exceptional circumstances the Committee can arrange for a witness to be placed under subpoena. A period of at least 5 business days' notice is required. If you require an interpreter it is up to you to arrange one.

Witness and interpreter expenses are the responsibility of the party calling the witness or requiring the interpreter.

Costs and expenses

The Committee has no power to award costs, expenses or compensation.

You are responsible for any individual expense or loss incurred in bringing the appeal application. The Committee cannot order the applicant to pay any cost or expense incurred by Victoria Police.

Appealing decisions of the Committee

A party that is aggrieved by the Committee's decision may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) (external link). Time limits to apply. For information on how to lodge an appeal contact VCAT.

Privacy

Information and documents provided to the Committee may be disclosed to Victoria Police, approved bodies, government departments and other statutory authorities. The information provided will be used in accordance with the provisions of the Firearms Act 1996, the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, the Health Records Act 2001 and any other relevant legislation.

Freedom of information

The Committee is an independent statutory appeals body that is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth). 

More information on freedom of information can be found in the Part II Information Statement and on the Freedom of Information website (external link).

Contact details

Tel: (03) 8684 1050
Email: firearmsappeals@justice.vic.gov.au

 

Author: Department of Justice and Regulation
Publisher: Department of Justice and Regulation
Date of Publication: 2017
Copyright: State of Victoria, 2017

 

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