Alternative models to provide fair hearings
L Mowday made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Defence
This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.
My reference: LSM/FOI/120909/06
Background. During the development of the Armed Forces Act 2006, the MOD apparently considered removing the powers of legally-untrained and legally-unqualified military Commanding Officers to conduct criminal judicial proceedings and to imprison (or acquit) their subordinates, in lieu of moving all judicial powers to legally-qualified, independent and impartial judges, such as judge advocates who preside over courts martial. Instead, a decision was made to retain these powers, but unify and equalise the powers of RN, Army and RAF commanders.
Further to s1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
Please provide copies of all MOD documentation which analyses or otherwise refers to the possibility of moving away from the summary hearing system, for example to a system of legally-qualified 'military magistrates', or any other system removing judicial powers from the mainstream Army. This includes, but is not exclusive to, all policy analyses conducted by, and alternative models considered by, the Armed Forces Bill teams who drafted the Armed Forces Acts 2006 and 2011.
My preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.
I note that under s16 of the Act, it is the MOD's duty to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who make requests for information to it. Accordingly, if the MOD considers attempting to block release of information under s12 of the Act (exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit), please a) provide a breakdown of costs, and b) explain what information *would* be releasable within the appropriate limit according to the department's purported calculations. I would, in that situation, apply for internal review, and ultimately apply for decision by the Information Commissioner, per s50 of the Act.
I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.
Please see attached a reply to recent Freedom of Information Act Requests.
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