×

email: info@sgkllp.com call: 020 7734 9700

“The high calibre of solicitors and support staff make for an outstanding firm.”
Chambers & Partners 2024

Military Law

If you are a member of the armed forces facing a criminal allegation or service offence, it is important to secure immediate legal representation from a specialist military law solicitor.

We have successfully represented military personnel from all three services and can assist from the outset of your case during the initial investigation through to Court Martial proceedings. We also advise in relation to Summary dealings before the Commanding Officer and Major Administrative Action.

Serving in the military is not just a career but a way of life, and being accused of a criminal or service offence can be life changing with far reaching consequences for an individual and their family. We understand the unique challenges faced by members of the armed forces when trying to navigate the Service Justice System and provide robust advice and representation at every stage of the process to secure the best possible outcome.  

Criminal proceedings are daunting and you may feel isolated at times. We are dedicated to client care and will offer unparalleled support throughout the duration of your case.

How we can help

We can represent you wherever you are based, whether it be in the UK or overseas. We have successfully supported our clients through every stage of the military justice process, including:

  • Representation across UK and overseas for interviews conducted by the Military police, Special Investigation Branch (SIB) and civilian police
  • Advice and assistance for a Summary Hearing before the Commanding Officer
  • Court Martial proceedings
  • Advice and assistance for Major Administrative Action
  • Pre- charge engagement to prevent charges being brought against you
  • Representation of military personnel facing criminal offences before the civilian courts
  • Court Martial Appeal Court (CMAC)

If you are a serving member of the Royal Air Force, British Army or Royal Navy, reservist or a civilian subject to service law facing criminal or disciplinary proceedings please contact us today.

If you are arrested by service or civilian police, it is essential that you exercise your right to independent, legal advice and representation. The same applies if you are invited in for a voluntary interview under caution which can often be presented by the authorities as an informal process to assist with their enquiries. It is not, and you will be putting yourself at risk if you are unrepresented. You are entitled to be represented by a solicitor of your choice, or have one appointed.

We have extensive experience of representing clients in interview under caution and have advised in respect of all offences, including the most serious and complex. We will ensure that your legal and basic rights are upheld at all times and support you thereafter, during the investigation process.

We can also be instructed, on a private basis, for pre-charge representation to proactively defend your case from the outset of a service investigation with the aim of preventing charges being brought against you.

At the conclusion of the investigation stage your case may be dealt with summarily, involving a hearing before the Commanding Officer. This is a non-judicial procedure but operates similar to a court trial, with the Commanding Officer assessing evidence, questioning the accused/witnesses, and confirming whether they find the accused guilty or not guilty.

You have the right to elect a trial by Court Martial instead of being dealt with summarily by the Commanding Officer.

Summary Hearings are not to be taken lightly; if you are found guilty there can be very serious consequences for you and your career. Although you may appoint an Assisting Officer to represent you at the Summary hearing, you are not entitled to have a legal representative present. It is therefore important that you obtain specialist legal advice and support in a timely manner, so that you are thoroughly prepared for the summary hearing.

We can advise on all matters concerning the summary hearing stage to ensure that your legal position is protected.

The Court Martial is a special military court where Service personnel and civilians subject to Service law, are tried in respect of criminal offences and disciplinary violations. Whilst it does share similarities with the civilian crown court in its procedure and sentencing powers, there are distinctive differences.

Trial by Court Martial can be a harrowing experience with much at stake. As your legal team we will vehemently defend you at trial whilst offering support as you navigate the process. We are adept at proceedings before the Court Martial and outstanding in the field of criminal defence. We thoroughly prepare cases for court martial and work closely with specialist counsel who are carefully selected to meet clients’ needs.

Where appropriate, we can engage in post-charge representation with the aim of persuading the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) to discontinue a case before the commencement of Court Martial proceedings.

The Court Martial mainly sits in the UK at Bulford or Catterick Court Martial Centre, but also sits in Germany, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. We can represent you wherever your trial is being conducted.

It is important to note that you are entitled to be defended by your own civilian legal team in respect of Court Martial Proceedings. So please do not hesitate to contact us today so we can progress your case and secure representation.

  • Summary Hearing: You have an automatic right to appeal the outcome of a summary hearing to the Summary Appeal Court.
  • Court Martial: An appeal against a Court Martial decision is to the Court Martial Appeal Court (CMAC)

Strict time limits apply to the above, so do not delay in obtaining independent legal advice in respect of any potential appeal proceedings.

Administrative action is an independent formal process used by the Armed Forces to address serious breaches of the Service Test:

‘Have the actions or behaviour of a service person adversely impacted or are they likely to impact on the efficiency or operational effectiveness of the service?’

An adverse outcome from such proceedings can have a devastating impact upon you and your career. Major Administrative Actions provides the Chain of Command with a variety of sanctions to remedy such professional and personal failings, from minor punishment to termination of service.

If Major Administrative Action proceedings have been instigated against you, early engagement is key. Please contact us straight away to discuss your case and how we can assist.

We accept instructions on a private basis and will consider instructions via Legal Aid, through the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA).

If you are a serving member of the Royal Air Force, British Army or Royal Navy, reservist or a civilian subject to service law facing criminal or disciplinary proceedings please contact us today.

Contact the team

Telephone: 020 7734 9700

Chloe Hingley Chloé Hingley
Consultant
c.hingley@sgkllp.com
Raymond Shaw Raymond Shaw
Partner
r.shaw@sgkllp.com
Legal 500 2024 Chambers 2024 Times Best Law FirmsLexel Cyber Essentials