Armed Forces Act 1976

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1976 c. 52


Armed Forces Act 1976

1976 CHAPTER 52

An Act to continue the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957; to amend those Acts and other enactments relating to the armed forces; to authorise the establishment of courts for the trial outside the United Kingdom of civilians subject to Part II of the Army Act 1955 or Part II of the Air Force Act 1955; to make provision for the powers of the courts so authorised in relation to such civilians; to make further provision for the powers of courts-martial in relation to such civilians and to civilians subject to Parts I and II of the Naval Discipline Act 1957; to make further provision as to the disqualification of members of the forces for membership of the House of Commons or the Northern Ireland Assembly; to make further provision for Greenwich Hospital; and for connected purposes.

[26th October 1976]

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 General

Part I

General

Duration of Army Act, Air Force Act and Naval Discipline Act

Duration of Army Act, Air Force Act and Naval Discipline Act

S-1 Duration of Services Acts.

1 Duration of Services Acts.

(1) The Army Act 1955 , the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957 shall, instead of expiring at the end of the year 1976, continue in force until 31st August 1977, and shall then expire unless continued in force in accordance with the following provisions of this section.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) 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 not exceeding twelve months beyond the day on which it would otherwise expire.

(3) No Order in Council shall be made under subsection (2) above so as to continue any of the said Acts beyond the end of the year 1981.

(4) No recommendation shall be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an order under subsection (2) above unless a draft thereof has been laid before Parliament and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) Section 1 of the Armed Forces Act 1971 shall be repealed at the end of the year 1976.

Service in and constitution of forces

Service in and constitution of forces

S-2 Regulation as to variation of term of service.

2 Regulation as to variation of term of service.

2. In section 2(1)(f ) of the Armed Forces Act 1966(regulations enabling a person to extend full-time or reserve service) after the word ‘extend’ there shall be inserted the words ‘or reduce’.

S-3 Royal Marines.

3 Royal Marines.

(1) The amendments specified in Part I of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of applying certain enactments to the Royal Marines.

(2) The amendments specified in Part II of that Schedule shall have effect for the purpose of applying certain enactments to warrant officers of the Royal Marines.

S-4 QARNNS and WRNS.

4 QARNNS and WRNS.

4. The amendments of the Naval Discipline Act 1957specified in Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of including Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service and the Women's Royal Naval Service in Her Majesty's naval forces for the purposes of that Act.

II Trial and Punishment of Offences

Part II

Trial and Punishment of Offences

Summary punishment

Summary punishment

S-5 Increased powers of summary punishment.

5 Increased powers of summary punishment.

(1) The maximum period of detention that may be awarded to a soldier or airman by his commanding officer under section 78 of the Army Act 1955 or section 78 of the Air Force Act 1955 shall be 60 days; and accordingly, in subsection (3)(a ) of section 78 of each Act, for the word ‘twenty-eight’ there shall be substituted the word ‘60’.

(2) The maximum amount of a fine that may be awarded for an offence, whether or not committed on active service,—

(a ) by virtue of section 78 of the Army Act 1955 or section 78 of the Air Force Act 1955 (without prejudice to paragraph (b ) of the second proviso to subsection (3) of each section (fines for civil offences)), or

(b ) to an officer (below the rank of lieutenant-colonel or wing-commander), or to a warrant officer, by virtue of section 79 of either Act (under which there is the same maximum),

shall not exceed the amount of the offender's pay for 28 days.

Civilians

Civilians

S-6 Establishment of Standing Civilian Courts.

6 Establishment of Standing Civilian Courts.

(1) Courts may be established for the trial outside the United Kingdom of persons (in this section and section 7 below referred to as ‘civilians’) to whom Part II of the Army Act 1955 or Part II of the Air Force Act 1955 is applied by section 209 of either Act (including persons to whom Part II of either Act applies by virtue of section 131 (persons treated as continuing to be subject to Part II for purposes of trial and punishment of offences)).

(2) Courts established under this section shall be known as Standing Civilian Courts.

(3) The Secretary of State, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, may by order direct that any area specified in the order shall be an area for which trials may be directed to be held before Standing Civilian Courts for offences committed in that area or elsewhere.

(4) The Lord Chancellor shall appoint such number of the assistants to the Judge Advocate General appointed under section 30 of the Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1951 as he considers necessary to sit as magistrates in Standing Civilian Courts.

(5) Subject to subsections (12) and (13) below, a trial held by virtue of this section shall be before such a magistrate.

(6) The Secretary of State may direct such authority as appears to him to be appropriate in relation to an area for which trials may be directed to be held before Standing Civilian Courts to draw up and from time to time add to a panel of persons whom the authority considers suitable to act as assessors in trials before such courts under subsection (12) below.

(7) If the Secretary of State is satisfied, after consultation with the Lord Chancellor, that there are in any area for which trials may be directed to be held before Standing Civilian Courts sufficient persons suitably qualified by training and experience to sit as members of Standing Civilian Courts, he may by order direct that subsection (13) below shall have effect in relation to trials before Standing Civilian Courts for that area.

(8) If an order is made under subsection (7) above, the Secretary of State, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, shall draw up and from time to time add to a panel of persons qualified as mentioned in that subsection to sit as members of Standing Civilian Courts for the area specified in the order.

(9) Each member of a panel under subsection (6) or (8) above shall be—

(a ) a civilian, or

(b ) an officer of the Royal Navy, the regular forces or the regular air force (as defined respectively in the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955 ), Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, or the Women's Royal Naval Service.

(10) A person shall cease to be a member of such a panel if he ceases—

(a ) to be a person such as is mentioned in subsection (9) above, or

(b ) to reside in the area for which the panel is drawn up.

(11) The Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, remove a member of a panel under subsection (6) or (8) above from that panel on the ground of incapacity or misbehaviour, but shall not exercise the power conferred by this subsection in relation to a member of a panel under subsection (8) above without the approval of the Lord Chancellor.

(12) For a trial where the person, or every person to be tried was under 17 years of age at the date of the alleged commission of the offence for which he is to be tried, and in relation to which subsection (13) below does not have effect, not more than two members of the appropriate panel under subsection (6) above may sit with the magistrate as assessors.

(13) If this subsection applies, the court for such a trial shall consist of a magistrate and not more than two members of the appropriate panel under subsection (8) above.

(14) The magistrate for any sitting or succession of sittings of a Standing Civilian Court shall be specified by or on behalf of the Judge Advocate General.

(15) The persons to sit as assessors or members of the court under subsection (12) or (13) above shall be specified for a trial or succession of trials by the authority who directs the trial or trials to be held.

(16) Any power to make an order under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(17) Schedule 3 to this Act shall have effect.

S-7 Jurisdiction of Standing Civilian Courts.

7 Jurisdiction of Standing Civilian Courts.

(1) The offences for which a civilian may be tried by a Standing Civilian Court are offences committed outside the United Kingdom for which a court-martial may try a civilian, other than—

(a ) any offence under section 57 of the Army Act 1955 or the Air Force Act...

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