What is Written Revocable Consent?
Written revocable consent is a legal term which refers to granting permission for specific actions or activities through a written agreement. In the province of Ontario, and as inferred by the title, this consent can be subsequently revoked or withdrawn at any time. In circumstances of domestic disputes, a written revocable consent may be brought forward where there are court-ordered conditions for one party to refrain from contacting the other. It is ultimately a formal agreement, in writing, which emphasizes that consent is based on the condition that it can be revoked or withdrawn by the granting party at any time, and is filed as a letter to the local law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing the matter in the jurisdiction where the parties are located. Written revocable consent is filed with the officer in charge (law enforcement).
It should be noted that written revocable consent is generally uncommon, as described above, it is normally applied to domestic violence incidents. In such cases, when the written revocable consent is submitted, the undertaking or recognizance which an accused person may have been released on will be amended to reflect that
In order for written revocable consent to be valid, it must be given voluntarily and with a full understanding of the implications and consequences of granting permission. If there is coercion, fraud, or duress proven, it can ultimately invalidate the consent, as it is essential that the granting party has the freedom to make an informed decision. This often adds complexity to circumstances of domestic violence in Ontario.
When might Written Revocable Consent be used?
An example of when written revocable consent may be applied is the granting temporary permission following charges stemming from allegations of domestic violence. An accused person may have conditions not to contact the complainant, however, the complainant may provide written revocable consent for access to a property, or for the discussions to exchange property between parties, through a written agreement, which can be revoked if the terms of access are not followed or if circumstances change.
The unique circumstances which may affect whether revocable consent is deemed appropriate may include whether or not the elements of the offence include injury to the complainant, or weapons used. Instances which may seem relatively less serious, such as minor property damage or assault without injury, may ultimately have a higher likelihood of written revocable consent being used.
Can written revocable consent be refused by the police or officer-in-charge?
It is certainly the most risk avoidant, safest approach for the officer to avoid responsibility if additional alleged incidents occur subsequent to written revocable consent being granted. Oftentimes the unique elements of the circumstances, as described above, depend as to whether the condition not to contact the complainant is amended.