Armed Forces Act 1971

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1971 c. 33


Armed Forces Act 1971

1971 CHAPTER 33

An Act to continue the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955, to limit the duration of the Naval Discipline Act 1957, and to amend those Acts and other enactments relating to the armed forces.

[27th May 1971]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Duration of Services Acts

Part I

Duration of Services Acts

S-1 Duration of Army Act 1955, Air Force Act 1955 and Naval Discipline Act 1957.

1 Duration of Army Act 1955, Air Force Act 1955 and Naval Discipline Act 1957.

(1) The Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955 shall, instead of expiring at the end of the year 1971, continue in force until the end of the year 1972, and shall then expire unless continued in force in accordance with the following provisions of this section.

(2) The Naval Discipline Act 1957 shall also expire at the end of the year 1972 unless continued in force in accordance with those provisions.

(3) Subject to subsection (4) below, Her Majesty may from time to time by Order in Council provide for any of the said Acts to continue in force for a period of twelve months beyond the day on which it would otherwise expire.

(4) No Order in Council shall be made under subsection (3) above so as to continue any of the said Acts beyond the end of the year 1976.

(5) No recommendation shall be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an order under subsection (3) above unless a draft thereof has been laid before Parliament and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

(6) Section 1 of the Armed Forces Act 1966 shall be repealed at the end of the year 1971.

II Revision of Service Offences and Punishments

Part II

Revision of Service Offences and Punishments

Misconduct in action and other offences arising out of military etc. service

Misconduct in action and other offences arising out of military etc. service

S-2 Misconduct in action, assisting the enemy, obstructing operations, etc.

2 Misconduct in action, assisting the enemy, obstructing operations, etc.

(1) The following provisions shall be substituted for sections 24 to 28 of the Army Act 1955 :—

Misconduct in action and other offences arising out of military service

‘Misconduct in action and other offences arising out of military service

S-24 Misconduct in action.

24 Misconduct in action.

(1) A person subject to military law shall be guilty of an offence against this section if, without lawful excuse, he—

(a ) surrenders any place or thing to the enemy, or

(b ) abandons any place or thing which it is his duty to defend against the enemy or to prevent from falling into the hands of the enemy.

(2) A person subject to military law shall be guilty of an offence against this section if, being in the presence or vicinity of the enemy, or being engaged in any action or operation against the enemy or under orders to be prepared for any action or operation by or against the enemy, he—

(a ) fails to use his utmost exertions to carry the lawful orders of his superior officers into execution, or

(b ) while on guard duty and posted or ordered to patrol, or while on watch, sleeps or, without having been regularly relieved, leaves any place where it is his duty to be, or

(c ) behaves in such a manner as to show cowardice, or induces any other person so to behave at a time when that other person, being a member of Her Majesty's forces or of a force co-operating with Her Majesty's forces, is in the presence or vicinity of the enemy, or is engaged in any action or operation against the enemy or under orders to be prepared for any action or operation by or against the enemy, or

(d ) uses words likely to cause despondency or unnecessary alarm.

(3) A person guilty of an offence against this section shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable—

(a ) if the offence consisted in an act or omission falling within subsection (1) or paragraph (a ) of subsection (2) and was committed with intent to assist the enemy, to suffer death or any less punishment provided by this Act;

(b ) in any other case, to imprisonment or any less punishment provided by this Act.

(4) The reference in subsection (2)(a ) above to superior officers shall be construed in accordance with section 33(2) of this Act.

S-25 Assisting the enemy.

25 Assisting the enemy.

(1) A person subject to military law shall be guilty of an offence against this section if, knowingly and without lawful excuse, he—

(a ) communicates with, or gives intelligence to, the enemy, or

(b ) fails to make known to the proper authorities any information received by him from the enemy, or

(c ) furnishes the enemy with supplies of any description, or

(d ) having been captured by the enemy, serves with or aids the enemy in the prosecution of hostilities or of measures likely to influence morale, or in any other manner whatsoever not authorised by international usage, or

(e ) having been captured by the enemy, fails to take, or prevents or discourages any other person subject to service law who has been captured by the enemy from taking, any reasonable steps to rejoin Her Her Majesty's service which are available to him or, as the case may be, to that other person, or

(f ) harbours or protects an enemy not being a prisoner of war.

(2) A person guilty of an offence against this section shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable—

(a ) if the offence consisted in an act or omission falling within paragraph (a ), (b ), (c ), (d ) or (f ) of subsection (1) and was committed with intent to assist the enemy, to suffer death or any less punishment provided by this Act,

(b ) in any other case, to imprisonment or any less punishment provided by this Act.

S-26 Obstructing operations, giving false air signals, etc.

26 Obstructing operations, giving false air signals, etc.

(1) A person subject to military law shall be guilty of an offence against this section if he does any act likely to imperil the success of any action or operation on the part of any of Her Majesty's forces, or wilfully delays or discourages upon any pretext whatsoever any such action or operation.

(2) A person subject to military law shall be guilty of an offence against this section if, knowingly and without lawful excuse, he gives any false air signal, or alters or interferes with any air signal or any apparatus for giving an air signal.

(3) A person guilty of an offence against this section shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable—

(a ) if the offence was committed with intent to assist the enemy, to suffer death or any less punishment provided by this Act;

(b ) in any other case, to imprisonment or any less punishment provided by this Act’.

(2) The provisions set out in subsection (1) above shall also be substituted for sections 24 to 28 of the Air Force Act 1955 , but modified for that purpose by the substitution throughout of ‘air-force service’ for ‘military service’ and ‘air-force law’ for ‘military law’.

(3) The said provisions shall also be substituted for sections 2 to 5 of the Naval Discipline Act 1957 , being numbered respectively as sections 2, 3 and 4 of that Act, and being modified for that purpose—

(a ) by the substitution throughout of ‘naval service’ for ‘military service’, of ‘person subject to this Act’, for ‘person subject to military law’, and of ‘punishment authorised by this Act’ for ‘punishment provided by this Act’, and

(b ) by the omission of subsection (4) of the first of those provisions, and the omission throughout of ‘on conviction by court-martial’.

S-3 Prize offences.

3 Prize offences.

(1) The following provisions shall be inserted in the Army Act 1955 as sections 27 and 28:—

S-27 ‘Prize offences by commanding officers.

27 ‘Prize offences by commanding officers.

(1) Any person subject to military law who, being in command of any of Her Majesty's ships or aircraft—

(a ) having taken any ship or aircraft as prize, fails to send to the High Court, or to some other prize court having jurisdiction in the case, all the ship papers or aircraft papers, as the case may be, found on board, or

(b ) unlawfully makes any agreement for the ransoming of any ship, aircraft or goods taken as prize, or

(c ) in pursuance of any such agreement as aforesaid, or otherwise by collusion, restores or abandons any ship, aircraft or goods taken as prize,

shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or any less punishment provided by this Act.

(2) In this section 'prize court' means a prize court within the meaning of the Naval Prize Act 1864 , and 'ship papers' and 'aircraft papers' have the same meanings as in that Act.

S-28 Other prize offences.

28 Other prize offences.

28. Any person subject to military law who—

a ) strikes or otherwise ill-treats any person who is on board a ship or aircraft when taken as prize, or unlawfully takes from any such person anything in his possession, or
b ) removes out of any ship or aircraft taken as prize (otherwise than for safe keeping or for the necessary use and service of any of Her Majesty's forces or any forces co-operating therewith) any goods not previously adjudged by a prize court within the meaning of the Naval Prize Act 1864 to be lawful prize, or
c ) breaks bulk on board any ship or aircraft taken as prize, or detained in exercise of any belligerent right or under any enactment, with intent to steal anything therein,

shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT