Facing any Police interview, whether it be by Service Police or Civilian Police, or any such investigation, and being charged with any offence can be a daunting process for everyone, and can have life or career changing consequences.
If you are serving in the Armed Forces, whether as a regular or a reservist, you are subject to Military Law and some civilians, usually dependents of Service personnel, are also subject to the Service Disciplinary Acts, when overseas, these include families of Armed Forces Personnel living with them and certain contractors working with the Armed Forces.
Obviously, we hope that you never find yourself facing a Summary Hearing, or a Court Martial, or a Civilian Criminal Court, but if you do you are allowed to choose any lawyer you wish to represent you.
At Forces Law we have lawyers who specialise and have specialised for some time in dealing with matters such as these, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, and who understand the system and in whom you can have complete trust and who will defend you all the way.
There is assistance provided by the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (subject to means) for representation before Courts Martial and Service Civilian Courts, and unless you choose a particular lawyer, one will be assigned to your case, who may not be skilled in this field and it is important to get specialist advice.
We can help you apply for Legal Aid if you are eligible.
Our members are specialists and understand the way that Service Disciplinary Proceedings are conducted and work with Service personnel and veterans as part of their normal private practice.
Any person, regardless of Service, rank or income, is entitled to a lawyer free of charge at any RMP, SIB or civilian Police interview. It is a fundamental and very important right.
It is a source of concern and frustration to lawyers that many people choose to be interviewed by the Police without a lawyer present, believing they may look guilty by asking for a lawyer. It is often damaging to the case. A lawyer can obtain information and obtain “disclosure” which is sometimes not offered to an unrepresented interviewee. The advice from The Forces Law Team is simple – be firm, be sensible and insist on your right and ask for a specialist Military lawyer to represent you.
These are proceedings heard before a Commanding Officer for Service offences and some criminal offences. You have the right to elect Trial by Court Martial. It is always best to obtain advice at an early stage.
These are specialist Courts dealing with people subject to Military Law or the Service Discipline Acts. It is very important that any person appearing before such a Court is represented by a lawyer who has specialised in such Courts, who understands the system, and who understands how best to present the case. Members of Forces Law have such experience and specialise in such matters and have represented Service personnel throughout the United Kingdom and abroad.
Whilst we are specialist we are completely independent.
Courts Martial also deal with Criminal Law, and any person subject to Service Law or any civilian subject to Service Discipline can be tried if they are alleged to have committed an offence punishable by the law of England and Wales, wherever it is committed.
Always seek specialist help, which is available from our members.
Sometimes Service personnel are prosecuted in the Civilian Courts. Again, our members have specialist skills of dealing with Service personnel or their dependents, and indeed veterans.
Assistance can be made to apply for Legal Aid where it is available, again, you can have complete confidence that our members will stand with you all the way.
Please make a note of our helpline number which is 0239 262 6888, and call us if you find yourself subject to investigation, subject of proceedings or in detention. Call a member directly, you can also use this number for more general advice on Military or Criminal Law, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find yourself in the Civilian Criminal Justice system, you may also wish to contact Project Nova who support Veterans through the process. Project Nova are not lawyers.
The most important point that we can make is to take advice from one of our specialist firms as soon as possible if you have any related query.