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Court Martial Solicitors
If you are concerned about an allegation made against you and you serve in the military, it is important to have legal representation from the outset to ensure that you receive the right advice and approach to the case.
How JMW Can Help
Our military lawyers provide a first-class level of care and representation to those facing allegations in the military courts and facing investigation by the Services Police Force. The bespoke nature of our service means we are able to be as dedicated and thorough as is required in cases such as these. We are able to provide assistance throughout proceedings, from initial interviews to trial in the Court Martial.
Our services include advising during an interview under caution with the Military Police, investigating the prosecution’s evidence, and compiling the strongest possible case for your defence to be presented in the right way. JMW’s military team has experience in dealing with all the stages of a military prosecution brought by the Services Prosecution Authority (SPA). We represent service men and women in the British Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force at Court Martial in Bulford and Catterick as well as outside of the UK.
We represent and successfully defend armed forces personnel being investigated for and charged with criminal offences, from fraud and money laundering, to sexual offences and assault, as well as specific offences under the Armed Forces Act 2006, such as failing to attend for duty, desertion, disobedience of orders. We have decades of experience representing individuals who face serious and life-changing allegations. We recognise that as a member of the Armed Forces the impact of an investigation and criminal charge is devastating and will likely impact upon your career and family life. We adopt an empathetic and pragmatic approach throughout cases of such a sensitive nature.
Read our FAQs below to find out more information about how we can assist you if you face allegations or are concerned about a potential investigation.
JMW works closely with Corporal Andy Reid MBE who joined our Armed Forces team as Ambassador in 2019, and has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, cementing our support for the Armed Forces Community. As a full-service law firm, JMW is able to offer support and advice in wider areas that may impact Armed Forces men and women, including representation in areas of personal injury, family and employment law.
FAQs About Court Martials
What is the Court Martial?
The Court Martial was established as an official court that has jurisdiction over anyone affiliated with the military (the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force). If you are charged with a service offence and required to attend one of the Military Courts, our military lawyers can provide advice and representation throughout your case.
In addition, the Court Martial hears cases involving criminal offences alleged to have been committed by military personnel, as well as specific offences under the Armed Forces Act 2006. A very small number of cases involving military personnel will be heard in the civilian Crown Court, typically rape and murder allegations.
A Court Martial is similar to a civilian Crown Court. Instead of a Jury, the court generally consists of a Judge Advocate and between three and seven warrant officers and commissioned officers, depending on the seriousness of the offence that the court is hearing.
What are the potential offences that can be investigated and charged?
The range of offences dealt with in a Court Martial is incredibly broad. If a serving member of the military is accused of a criminal offence, they can be brought before the Court Martial and tried for that offence, irrespective of where in the world the alleged offence occurred. The sort of offences covered could include driving offences, fraud offences, sexual offences, assaults, and many other criminal offences.
What are the potential sentences that I could face?
The Court Martial has powers similar, although wider-ranging, to those of the Crown Court. The Court Martial deals with offences that can lead to terms of imprisonment at the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) at Colchester. In addition, there are specific military punishments available to the Court Martial, such as dismissal from the service and reduction in rank. Prior to any court case, our military lawyers will advise you on the possible punishment that you might face and where necessary, mitigate on your behalf in order to reduce any sentence imposed and its impact upon you and your family.
What will happen if I am being investigated and have to attend an interview?
We can offer expert advice from the outset to the conclusion of a case, from an interview with the Services Police to representing you at Court Martial hearings, to provide the best possible outcome.
If you are arrested by the Service Police or asked to attend a voluntary interview in connection with an alleged offence, you are entitled to have a solicitor present at your interview. This is irrespective of where you are serving in the world. Our military lawyers will be able to assist, regardless of your location. All service police interviews must be conducted in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and our military lawyers will ensure that your interview is conducted properly, fairly and you are advised fully.
It may be that the Service Police contact you and ask you to attend an interview voluntarily. Your rights are the same and you must seek legal representation. We will usually be able to arrange with the Service Police for your interview to take place at a pre-arranged convenient time.
What happens if I am charged with an offence?
Once the investigation by the Service Police has concluded your case will be referred to the Service Prosecution Authority (SPA) who will make a recommendation to your commanding officer whether there is sufficient evidence to charge you with an offence and if so, how the case should be dealt with.
The investigation may result in prosecution for a criminal offence and you will be given a date for a preliminary court hearing.
Will I have to attend court?
Less serious offences will be dealt with by either your Commanding Officer or Officer Commanding at a summary hearing. You are still entitled to be advised in relation to summary proceedings by a solicitor and we suggest that expert advice is sought to assist with the preparation of the case.
Should the matter proceed to Court Martial you are entitled to legal representation and should always seek expert legal representation to defend or mitigate your position. Our military lawyers are experienced at defending service personnel throughout Court Martial proceedings and will be able to advise you through the entire process. We will instruct an expert barrister to represent you at the Court Martial trial and any other hearings.
How do I fund a Court Martial case?
Legal aid is normally available through the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA). Criminal Legal Aid through the AFCLAA is available worldwide to members of the armed forces for all matters dealt with by the service courts. You can nominate a lawyer of your choice when you apply for legal aid. There is a possibility that you may be asked to make contributions, as part of the legal aid offer.
Should legal aid not be available to you or if you cannot afford to pay legal aid contributions, we will be able to discuss your options to fund your case on a private basis and are able to offer fixed or staged fees in most cases.
Talk to Us
Get in touch with our expert team of military lawyers at JMW today for advice in relation to any offences that you face. Call us on 0800 652 5559 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible.
We understand that the potential issues that can arise from being affiliated with the armed forces can be complicated. As well as offering expert advice in relation to Court Martial proceedings, JMW can assist in many other areas. These can include, but are not limited to military personal injury claims, family law, Court of Protection and employment law.