Monday, June 22, 2020

So you want to be an Army lawyer?

The Law Society Gazette has a worthwhile article by Catherine Baksi titled Military Mettle. It's a description of life and work in today's Army Legal Services, particularly in light of COVID-19 activities. Excerpt:
Army Legal Services (ALS) is part of the Adjutant General’s Corps and has its roots in the 17th century. Its responsibilities are extensive, from prosecuting in courts martial and giving legal advice on international, civil and military law, to advising on operational law, the law of armed conflict and rules of engagement, and all aspects of service discipline.

It encompasses three broad elements – prosecutions, general advisory and operational law – but its lawyers will work in all areas during their army career, from advising the chain of command on the finer points of international law in the middle of a war zone to deciding whether to prosecute a soldier by a court martial.

Each year, ALS looks to recruit eight to 10 fully qualified solicitors, barristers or Scottish advocates who are physically fit and aged between 23 and 32.

In recognition of their professional qualifications, the ALS is an officer-only branch of the army. After two weeks of initial training, recruits attend a nine-week commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. There they are put through their paces learning basic military skills, including weapons training and drill, as well as the relevant areas of law and developing their ability to lead and command.

They are then sent out on attachments to combat units where they operate as non-lawyers for three months to give them first-hand experience of army life.

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