Armed Forces Act 1981

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1981 c. 55


Armed Forces Act 1981

1981 CHAPTER 55

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 confer new powers for the temporary detention abroad of servicemen or civilians subject to those Acts suffering from mental disorder or the children of service and certain civilian families in need of care or control; to complete the assimilation for statutory purposes of the women's services with the rest of the armed forces; to amend the Patents Act 1977 in relation to inventions by members of the armed forces; to abolish the office of Accountant General of the Navy; to make further provision in relation to the naval prize cash balance; and for connected purposes.

[28th July 1981]

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 Continuance of Services Acts

Part I

Continuance of Services Acts

S-1 Continuance of Services Acts.

1 Continuance of Services Acts.

(1) The Army Act 1955 , the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957 shall, instead of expiring on 31st August 1981, continue in force until 31st August 1982, 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 the said Acts to continue in force for a period not exceeding twelve months beyond the day on which they would otherwise expire.

(3) No Order in Council shall be made under subsection (2) above so as to continue the said Acts beyond the end of the year 1986.

(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 a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) Section 1 of the Armed Forces Act 1976 shall be repealed on 1st September 1981.

II Trial and Punishment of Offences

Part II

Trial and Punishment of Offences

S-2 Young service offenders: custodial orders.

2 Young service offenders: custodial orders.

(1) The following section shall be inserted after section 71A of the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955

S-71AA

71AA ‘Young service offenders: custodial orders.

(1) Where a person who has attained seventeen years of age but is under twenty-one years of age is found guilty by a court-martial of an offence punishable under this Act with imprisonment, the court shall have power, instead of so punishing him, to make an order (in this section referred to as a ‘custodial order’) committing him to be detained in accordance with the provisions of this section for a maximum period to be specified in the order of not more than two years.

(2) If a person is outside the United Kingdom at the time a custodial order is made in respect of him, he shall as soon as practicable after the confirmation of the sentence is completed be removed to the United Kingdom.

(3) A person in respect of whom a custodial order has been made shall be detained in such appropriate institution as the Secretary of State may direct, and any enactment applying to persons detained in any such institution shall apply to a person so detained under this section.

(4) A custodial order shall be sufficient authority for the detention of the person subject to it in service custody until he is received into the institution specified in the Secretary of State's direction.

(5) Sections 71(3) and (4), 114(1), 118(1), 119A(1) and (3) and 145 of this Act shall apply in the case of a sentence under a custodial order as they apply in the case of a sentence of detention (or, in the case of section 71(3), imprisonment); and so shall sections 119(2), (4) and (5), 122, 123, 129, 142 and 190B for the period before a person sentenced under such an order is received into the institution where he is to be detained (or for the currency of the sentence if its term ends before he is so received).

(6) In this section ‘appropriate institution’ means—

(a ) where the offender is in or removed to England or Wales—

(i) if the maximum period specified in the order exceeds six months, a borstal institution, and

(ii) in any other case, a detention centre;

(b ) where the offender is in or removed to Scotland—

(i) in the case of a male person ordered to be detained for a period of at least twenty-eight days but not exceeding four months, a detention centre, and

(ii) in any other case, a young offenders institution;

(c ) where the offender is in or removed to Northern Ireland, a young offenders centre.

(7) This section does not apply to offenders who are civilians (as regards whom similar provision is made by paragraph 10 of Schedule 5A to this Act)’.

(2) The following section shall be inserted after section 43A of the Naval Discipline Act 1957

S-43AA

43AA ‘Young service offenders: custodial orders.

(1) Where a person who has attained seventeen years of age but is under twenty-one years of age is found guilty by a court-martial of an offence punishable under this Act with imprisonment, the court shall have power, instead of so punishing him, to make an order (in this section referred to as a ‘custodial order’) committing him to be detained in accordance with the provisions of this section for a maximum period to be specified in the order of not more than two years.

(2) If a person is outside the United Kingdom at the time a custodial order is made in respect of him, he shall as soon as practicable be removed to the United Kingdom.

(3) A person in respect of whom a custodial order has been made shall be detained in such appropriate institution as the Secretary of State may direct, and any enactment applying to persons detained in any such institution shall apply to a person so detained under this section.

(4) A custodial order shall be sufficient authority for the detention of the person subject to it in service custody until he is received into the institution specified in the Secretary of State's direction.

(5) Sections 43(3) and (4), 85(1), 89(1) and (3) and 92(1) of this Act shall apply in the case of a sentence under a custodial order as they apply in the case of a sentence of detention (or, in the case of section 43(3), imprisonment); and so shall sections 81, 82, 87, 88, 104, 119 and 130A for the period before a person sentenced under such an order is received into the institution where he is to be detained (or for the currency of the sentence if its term ends before he is so received).

(6) In this section ‘appropriate institution’ means—

(a ) where the offender is in or removed to England or Wales—

(i) if the maximum period specified in the order exceeds six months, a borstal institution, and

(ii) in any other case, a detention centre;

(b ) where the offender is in or removed to Scotland—

(i) in the case of a male person ordered to be detained for a period of at least twenty-eight days but not exceeding four months, a detention centre, and

(ii) in any other case, a young offenders institution;

(c ) where the offender is in or removed to Northern Ireland, a young offenders centre.

(7) This section does not apply to offenders who are civilians (as regards whom similar provision is made by paragraph 10 of Schedule 4A to this Act).’.

(3) Accordingly—

(a ) the following paragraph shall be inserted after section 71(1)(b ) of the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955

‘(bb ) detention by virtue of a custodial order made under section 71AA of this Act;’

(b) the following paragraph shall be inserted after section 43(1)(b ) of the Naval Discipline Act 1957

‘(bb ) detention by virtue of a custodial order made under section 43AA of this Act;’.

S-3 Power to stay further proceedings under one of the Services Acts with a view to other proceedings.

3 Power to stay further proceedings under one of the Services Acts with a view to other proceedings.

(1) Sections 77 to 79 of the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955 (which prescribe the procedure to be followed for the trial of offences under those Acts) shall be amended as provided in subsections (2) to (5) of this section.

(2) In section 77, after subsection (4), there shall be inserted the following subsection—

(4A) This section has effect subject to section 77A of this Act’.

(3) After section 77 there shall be inserted the following section—

S-77A

77A ‘Power to stay further proceedings.

77A. Where, in the course of investigating a charge, it appears to the accused's commanding officer that proceedings in respect of the matters to which the charge relates could be, and in the interests of the better administration of justice ought to be, taken against the accused otherwise than under this Act he may stay further proceedings on the charge.’.

(4) In section 78, in subsection (1), there shall be added at the end the words ‘and has not stayed further proceedings thereon’.

(5) In section 79, in subsection (1), after the word ‘dismissed’ there shall be inserted the words ‘or stayed further proceedings on’.

(6) The Naval Discipline Act 1957 shall have effect with the insertion after section 52 of a section 52A in the same terms as the section 77A inserted by subsection (3) above in the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955.

S-4 Marines: forfeiture of service where desertion confessed.

4 Marines: forfeiture of service where desertion confessed.

(1) So much of section 81(2) of the Army Act 1955...

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