Representation for Service personnel
The members of the Criminal Team offer substantial experience in courts martial, and are well used to dealing with cases of exceptional gravity and with national publicity. Recently, in the high profile Iraqi War Crimes Trial at the Military Court Centre Bulford, four members of Chambers have secured acquittals for 2 members of 1QLR (now 1 LANCS). The High Court Judge, sitting as Judge Advocate with a very distinguished Board, was persuaded by lengthy legal argument from Geoffrey Cox QC and Jeremy Baker QC that the Prosecution had not presented evidence which called for an answer from the accused men. See here for further information on that case.
Certain members of Chambers are highly experienced, practising predominantly in the courts martial, and will travel to any of the Military Court Centres in UK (including Northern Ireland), Germany, Cyprus or wherever the trial or soldier is based. Conferences can be arranged by VTC.
Chambers accepts briefs for courts martial work from various prestigious solicitors who enjoy an enviable reputation in the field and are linked to the firms: Lewis Cherry (Northern Ireland and worldwide), William Bache & Co (Salisbury), Betts Smith (Kent). We also accept work direct from the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA) at Upavon, Wiltshire.
This means that where a solider is in Germany, Cyprus or elsewhere abroad outside the United Kingdom they can simply complete their Army Legal Aid form nominating “a barrister from Thomas More Chambers”. AFCLAA will then contact Chambers and a barrister will be nominated to run the case from referrals to Higher Authority straight through to the Court Martial itself. Whilst we cannot attend the police station (civilian police or Service police) with the soldier, we can easily assist in arranging for an experienced and capable solicitor to do so, given adequate notice.
We can also help with legal advice before the Commanding Officer and Summary Dealing and for other matters such as AGAI 67 and redress procedure. For any Family or Civil work we can arrange for advice or legal representation, either by direct access for civil work or through linked solicitors for Family matters.
Members of Chambers have reported courts-martial cases (Baines v Army Prosecuting Authority and the Ministry of Defence (intervening)) and have appeared in the Court Martial Appeal Court and the High Court on cases specifically involving soldiers.