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Investigation Manual

27 Withdrawn complaints

We have an explicit statutory discretion to decide whether to continue or discontinue or complete an investigation.

If a complainant wishes to withdraw their complaint, and our consideration of it is at a very early stage (for example before we have made enquiries in Investigation), we can close the complaint by sending a letter, rather than writing a full decision statement. We expect this to be an unusual and exceptional event. 

In all cases, where we decide to issue a letter to close a withdrawn complaint, the publication flag in ECHO should be marked as ‘no’ and the reason marked as “withdrawn at the request of the complainant”. 

At a late stage (for example after a draft decision) in most cases it would be against the public interest and unfair on the BinJ if we decided to discontinue simply because the complainant doesn’t agree with the likely outcome and wishes to withdraw. We should therefore complete our investigation and issue a decision in the normal way. 

An exceptional situation might be where the complainant alleges they cannot properly participate in the investigation because of illness. If we accept that may be the case, we should consider discontinuing. If a draft decision has already been sent, we should say what our draft decision had been and that we are discontinuing because the complainant says they are too ill to participate further. There may be circumstances when there are outstanding issues which merit investigation (or the complainant would like us to continue without their direct involvement), when we should consider continuing the investigation or using our 26D powers while noting their withdrawal.