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This article was written by Courtney Ashton - Solicitor - Perth

Courtney holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Criminology and Justice from Edith Cowan University and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law. Courtney is a dedicated practitioner who enjoys a challenge and has competently completed many traffic and summary jurisdiction matters. Courtney enjoys advocacy and has appeared in a number of drink driving,...

Conduct Agreement Orders and Undertakings (WA)


A Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) is a restraining order that prohibits a person from committing family violence against a person with whom they are in a family relationship. At any time during the proceedings resulting from an application for an FVRO, the matter can be settled by way of a Conduct Agreement Order or an undertaking. This article examines those two forms of resolution of an FVRO matter.

Conduct Agreement Order

A Conduct Agreement Order (CAO) is a Family Violence Restraining Order made with the consent of both the applicant and the respondent (otherwise known as the person bound).

A CAO can include all the restraints included in the FVRO application that was served on the respondent. A CAO does not constitute an admission by the Respondent of all or any of the matters alleged in the application for the FVRO.

For the purposes of the Restraining Orders Act 1997, a CAO constitutes an FVRO and as such, should the person bound by the CAO breach the CAO, they may be charged with a criminal offence.

A CAO will not appear on your criminal record, nor will you have to declare it to your employer.

There are a number of reasons why a person may want to agree to a CAO, such as:

  • To alleviate the risk of a final order hearing including avoiding the stress of giving evidence and the costs involved; and
  • To alleviate the risk of having a finding of family violence being made.

Undertaking

Unlike a CAO, an undertaking is not an order of the court, nor is it taken to be an FVRO for the purposes of the Restraining Orders Act 1997. An undertaking is a promise to the court, whether oral or written, to not engage in certain behaviour.

Similar to a CAO, an undertaking must be made by consent of both the Applicant and the Respondent. However, unlike a CAO, an undertaking:

  1. is not enforceable by the police or the court; and
  2. will not result in a criminal charge in the event of a breach.

There are a number of reasons why someone may want to agree to an undertaking, such as:

  • the parties are free to agree on the terms of the undertaking;
  • the application for an FVRO will be dismissed on the basis the matter has been finalised by undertaking;
  • to alleviate the risk of a final order hearing including avoiding the stress of giving evidence; and
  • to alleviate the risk of having a finding of family violence made.

Whilst breaching an undertaking is not a criminal offence, it may be used as supporting evidence for a future FVRO application.

Misconduct Restraining Orders & Violence Restraining Orders

An undertaking is also commonly used as a way of settling Misconduct Restraining Order (MRO) and Violence Restraining Order (VRO) matters.

In many cases, the respondent is restrained from contacting the applicant. Should you require assistance with an FVRO, MRO or VRO matter and negotiating an out of court settlement, you should seek legal advice.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal. 

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