0

Is "OK" legally binding as a "Yes"?

In some situations, I have been asked questions, and I said "ok", but they just repeat their question one more time.

So I think "OK" means "whatever, I don't care". What do you think?

2 Answers 2

5

Language is contextual. When the meaning of a communication is at issue in litigation, that meaning is gleaned from the totality of the evidence, not from any presumption of what a word means in isolation.

"Okay" can mean "yes", it might mean only that you understand, it might communicate coerced acquiesence falling short of actual consent. See the discussion in R. c. Byers, 2018 QCCQ 4673:

[81] Regarding the petitioner’s pretention claiming that she “clearly express her wish to consult an attorney”, the Court considers that the answer “OK” does not show a clear intention to consult a lawyer.

[82] At the most “OK” could mean that she understood, that she heard them and also could [have] signified “Yes, I would like to consult an attorney”.

[83] In the decision Ellis, the Court of appeal had to analyze the meaning of the words “OK” as part of evidence of purchasing a firearm, the Court considered that this had an equivocal meaning.

[84] Moreover, the Court wrote:

“[40] (…) Viewed in the context of the whole of the evidence, we consider it a reasonable inference that the two responses “Ok ok” signified nothing more than an acknowledgement of the prices quoted.”

[85] For analysis purpose, the Court will consider that the answer “OK” means “yes”.

See also R. v. Potvin, 2012 ONCA 113:

The pertinent facts known to the appellant were straightforward. The complainant repeatedly said “no” to sex and then appeared to say “yes” by uttering the word “okay”. Viewed in the context of all that preceded it, we agree with the trial judge that the complainant’s use of the word “okay” was ambiguous. In the absence of further inquiry by the appellant, a single “okay” after five refusals over a sustained period of time was simply insufficient to ground a reasonable but mistaken belief in consent.

4

Okay would be acknowledgement of a statement, and will generally be taken to mean consent or acceptance, but it doesn't mean "yes."

People are asking you the question again because if they are asking you a yes or no question, it isn't answered by "okay."

Yes/No questions:

Officer: Have you had anything to drink, sir?
You: Okay.
Officer: Have you had anything to drink, sir?
You: Okay.
Officer: This guy is high.

Contrast to:

Officer: Can I search your vehicle?
You: Okay.
Officer: starts searching

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .