Cases involving military personnel

Military PersonnelMilitary court proceedings require specialist advice. Paul Jones has many years experience of dealing with cases involving military personnel and has dealt with cases that have attracted national attention.

In particular, he can advise you on cases being dealt with in the Summary Appeals Court and at Court Martial. Legal Aid is available to military personnel in most cases.

Minor transgressions may be dealt with by your Commanding Officer. He or she will decide whether the allegation against you has been proved and if so will pass sentence for the matter. His or her decision may be challenged in the Summary Appeals Court.

More serious cases are referred to the Army Prosecution Service. If it considers that the evidence in the case justifies further action then the matter may be tried at a Court Martial.


How do I apply for Legal Aid?

A Defending Officer will be appointed to assist you. The Defending Officer will be able to provide a Legal Aid application form and will help you to complete it. When completing the form you can name the lawyer you would like to represent you. If you do not specify the lawyer you want one will be assigned to you by the Army Criminal Legal Aid Service.

Can’t I just see a Duty Solicitor on the day of the hearing?

No. The Duty Solicitor scheme does not extend to Summary Appeals Court hearings or Courts Martial. If you wish to be represented you must make arrangements in advance.

The only exception occurs when your Commanding Officer seeks to have you held in custody until your case is dealt with. If so, an application can be made on his behalf to a Judge Advocate requesting that you be held in custody. At that hearing you may seek representation by a Duty Solicitor but you must instruct your own choice of lawyer if you want to be represented at subsequent hearings.

Do I really need a solicitor? I could just rely on my Defending Officer.

The role of your Defending Officer is very different from that of a solicitor. The Defending Officer has no legal training and is in no position to advise you on legal questions. Instead, he assists your solicitor with issues relating to the way in which the military works.

You must bear in mind the profound effect a conviction before a military court may have on your life and career. A Court Martial has the power to order that you be imprisoned or held in military detention. Your rank may be reduced and it is open to the court to dismiss you from the service.

Even if you are guilty of an offence your solicitor may be able to draw the court’s attention to mitigating circumstances which might make a significant difference to the way in which the court deals with your case.