FAQ Court Martial and Military

What does it mean to get Court Martialed?

A Court Martial is where offences set out in the Armed Forces Act 2006 are tried before a Judge-Advocate. Under military law, offences which are of a serious nature are allocated to a Court Martial and can include both Disciplinary Offences under the Armed Forces Act 2006 and Criminal Conduct Offences. Disciplinary offences include failure to perform duties or performing duties negligently, whereas Criminal Conduct offences are offences against civilian law which include common assault. 

Can I go straight to a Court Martial rather than a Summary Hearing with my CO?

If you are charged with an offence you also have the right to choose trial by Court Martial, as opposed to appearing before your Commanding Officer at a Summary Hearing.

What are my rights if I am arrested by Military Police?

You are entitled to the same rights as individuals who are arrested by civilian police officers and you are entitled to free legal representation during Military Police Interviews. We have experienced lawyers who can provide legal help to any serving or ex serving member of the Army, Navy or Air Force and cover a wide range of criminal conduct offences and disciplinary offences under the Armed Forces Act. 

Am I entitled to legal representation at a Summary Hearing?

A Summary Hearing is heard before your Commanding Officer who can impose punishments should they find you guilty of the alleged offence. You can appeal against the conviction or sentence, or both in the Summary Appeal Court where the Judge Advocate presides over and will pass any ruling on matters of law. Unfortunately, you will not be entitled to legal representation at a Summary Hearing. However, you have the right to choose whether you wish for the matter to be heard at trial by Court Martial instead of being heard summarily.

Can I appeal a decision made at Court Martial?

During a trial by Court Martial the offence is presented to the Judge Advocate and the board of between three and seven officers. Similarly, to the Crown Court procedure in England and Wales, the judge advocate provides rulings on matters of law, practice and procedure, however the board ultimately decides by majority decision whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

A judgement passed in a Court Martial can be appealed in the Court Martial Appeal Court, which is made up of judges who preside over the civilian Court of Appeal.