Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors Courts Martial Department has extensive experience in providing legal advice and representation to members of the armed forces.
What is a Courts Martial?
A Courts Martial is a legal military hearing that takes place in a military court and is similar to a civilian court of law. Just like any other non-military trial, evidence is presented and there is a cross-examination of witnesses. The Court generally comprises a Judge Advocate and between three and seven warrant officers and commissioned officers.
Service and Civilian Police Interviews
An investigation, either civilian or military, will start with an interview. If you are arrested by the service police or the civilian police, asked to attend an interview voluntarily or by appointment, you have the same rights, which include being represented free of charge by a solicitor of your choice either over the telephone or in person.
Wherever you are arrested we can ensure that you are represented by a suitably qualified lawyer. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can attend interviews anywhere in the UK and by appointment overseas.
Summary Dealings/Courts Martial
Minor offences will be dealt with by either the Officer Commanding or where the offence is of a more serious nature, by your Commanding Officer. The most serious offences are dealt with by the Courts Martial. You will not be entitled to legal representation at a Summary Hearing held by either your Officer Commanding or your Commanding Officer; however you can obtain legal advice prior to that hearing, although this would have to be paid for on a privately funded basis.
You do have the absolute right to elect for a trial by Courts Martial if you wish. Representation in a Courts Martial can be funded by way of Legal Aid, which can be applied for through the Armed Forces Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA). Legal Aid is means tested and you can nominate a lawyer of your choice.
If you wish you can have your matter dealt with summarily and if you disagree with the decision you are entitled to appeal to the Summary Appeal Court and can appeal either against the finding of guilt, the sentence imposed or both. Legal Representation is available in relation to these proceedings.
We are a London based firm but we can attend any Courts Martial centre in the UK or overseas.
Courts Martial has similar powers of sentencing as the civilian courts, but they also have the power to dismiss, impose service detention and demote in rank. A Commanding Officer carrying out a summary hearing has limited powers of sentencing.
Our court martial specialists are part of our London based criminal defence solicitors that specialise in defending your case. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017.