Armed Forces Act 1991

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1991 c. 62


Armed Forces Act 1991

1991 CHAPTER 62

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 make provision for compensation for miscarriages of justice before courts-martial; to make provision for orders for the assessment and emergency protection of children forming part of or staying with service families abroad; and for connected purposes.

[25th July 1991]

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 1955 Acts and the 1957 Act shall, instead of expiring on 31st December 1991, continue in force until 31st August 1992, 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 1955 Acts and the 1957 Act 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 1955 Acts and the 1957 Act beyond the end of the year 1996.

(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.

II Amendments Relating to the Armed Forces and Other Persons Subject to Provisions of the Services Acts

Part II

Persons Subject to Provisions of the Services ActsAmendments Relating to the Armed Forces and Other

Young offenders

Young offenders

S-2 Young offenders: custodial sentences.

2 Young offenders: custodial sentences.

(1) Section 71A of each of the 1955 Acts (juveniles) and, subject to the modifications in subsection (6) below, section 43A of the 1957 Act (juveniles) shall each be amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (5) below.

(2) In subsection (1B)—

(a) after the words ‘imprisonment for life’ there shall be inserted ‘then, subject to subsection (1E) below’; and

(b) paragraph (a) shall be omitted.

(3) After subsection (1C) there shall be inserted the following subsections—

(1D) Subject to subsections (3) and (4) below, the only custodial sentences that a court may award where a person under 21 years of age is convicted or found guilty of an offence are—

(a) a custodial order under section 71AA of this Act or under paragraph 10 of Schedule 5A to this Act; and

(b) a sentence of custody for life under subsection (1A) or (1B) above.

(1E) A court may not—

(a) make a custodial order under section 71AA of this Act; or

(b) pass a sentence of custody for life under subsection (1B) above;

unless it is satisfied—

(i) that the circumstances, including the nature and the gravity of the offence, are such that if the offender were aged 21 or over the court would pass a sentence of imprisonment; and

(ii) that he qualifies for a custodial sentence.

(1F) An offender qualifies for a custodial sentence if—

(a) he has a history of failure to respond to non-custodial sentences and is unable or unwilling to respond to them; or

(b) only a custodial sentence would be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from him; or

(c) the offence of which he has been convicted or found guilty was so serious that a non-custodial sentence for it cannot be justified.’

(4) In subsection (4)—

(a) for the words ‘A person under 17 years of age’ there shall be substituted ‘In any case where—

(a) a person aged 14 or over but under 17 years of age is’;

(b) for the words ‘may be sentenced by the court, if it’ there shall be substituted ‘or

(b) a person under 14 years of age is found guilty of manslaughter,

and, in either case, the court’; and

(c) after the word ‘suitable’ there shall be inserted ‘the court may sentence that person’.

(5) After subsection (6) there shall be inserted the following subsection—

(7) A sentence of detention under section 71(1)(e) of this Act shall be treated for the purposes of this section as a non-custodial sentence and references in this section to a custodial sentence shall be construed accordingly.’

(6) The modifications of the amendments in subsections (2) to (5) above in their application to section 43A of the 1957 Act are—

(a) for ‘section 71AA’, in each place where it occurs in the amendment in subsection (3) above, there shall be substituted ‘section 43AA’;

(b) for ‘Schedule 5A’ in the amendment in subsection (3) above there shall be substituted ‘Schedule 4A’; and

(c) for ‘section 71(1)(e)’ in the amendment in subsection (5) above there shall be substituted ‘section 43(1)(e)’.

S-3 Young service offenders: minimum period of custodial orders etc.

3 Young service offenders: minimum period of custodial orders etc.

(1) In section 71AA of each of the 1955 Acts and in section 43AA of the 1957 Act (young service offenders: custodial orders), in subsection (1) the words ‘subject to subsection (1A) below’ shall be omitted and after the words ‘period to be specified in the order’ there shall be inserted ‘being not less than 21 days and’.

(2) Subsection (1A) of each of those sections shall be omitted.

(3) Subject to subsection (4) below, in subsection (1B) of each of those sections for the words from ‘there is’ to ‘in respect of him’ there shall be substituted ‘it is satisfied as mentioned in sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) of subsection (1E) of section 71A of this Act with respect to any person’.

(4) In the application of subsection (3) above to section 43AA of the 1957 Act, for ‘section 71A’ there shall be substituted ‘section 43A’.

S-4 Reasons to be given where custodial sentence awarded to young offender.

4 Reasons to be given where custodial sentence awarded to young offender.

(1) After section 71AA of each of the 1955 Acts there shall be inserted the following section—

S-71AB

71AB ‘Reasons to be given where custodial sentence awarded to young offender.

(1) This section applies where a court—

(a) makes a custodial order under section 71AA of this Act, or

(b) passes a sentence of custody for life under section 71A(1B) of this Act.

(2) It shall be the duty of the court—

(a) to state in open court and to record in the proceedings that it is satisfied that the offender qualifies for a custodial sentence under one or more of the paragraphs of subsection (1F) of section 71A of this Act, the paragraph or paragraphs in question, and why it is so satisfied; and

(b) to explain to the offender in open court and in ordinary language why it is passing a custodial sentence on him.

(3) Where a court makes a custodial order and, in accordance with its duty under subsection (2) above, makes the statement required by paragraph (a) of that subsection, the matters stated shall be specified in the order (made under Imprisonment and Detention Rules) pursuant to which the offender is committed into custody.’

(2) After section 43AA of the 1957 Act there shall be inserted the following section—

S-43AB

43AB ‘Reasons to be given where custodial sentence awarded to young offender.

(1) This section applies where a court—

(a) makes a custodial order under section 43AA of this Act, or

(b) passes a sentence of custody for life under section 43A(1B) of this Act.

(2) It shall be the duty of the court—

(a) to state in open court and to record in the proceedings that it is satisfied that the offender qualifies for a custodial sentence under one or more of the paragraphs of subsection (1F) of section 43A of this Act, the paragraph or paragraphs in question, and why it is so satisfied; and

(b) to explain to the offender in open court and in ordinary language why it is passing a custodial sentence on him.

(3) Where a court makes a custodial order and, in accordance with its duty under subsection (2) above, makes the statement required by paragraph (a) of that subsection, the matters stated shall be specified in the committal order.’

S-5 Young civilian offenders: custodial orders.

5 Young civilian offenders: custodial orders.

(1) In Schedule 5A to each of the 1955 Acts and Schedule 4A to the 1957 Act (powers of court on trial of civilian), paragraph 10 (custodial orders) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this section.

(2) Subject to subsection (9) below, in sub-paragraph (1)—

(a) for the words ‘subsection (1A) below’ there shall be substituted ‘sub-paragraphs (1A) and (1AA) below’; and

(b) for the words from ‘in accordance’ to the end of paragraph (b) there shall be substituted—

‘for a period, to be specified in the order, which—

(a) shall not be less than 21 days;

(b) shall not exceed the maximum period for which he could have been sentenced to imprisonment if he had attained the age of 21; and

(c) if the order is made by a Standing Civilian Court, shall not exceed six months’.

(3) In sub-paragraph (1A) the words from the beginning to ‘appropriate and’ shall be omitted.

(4) After sub-paragraph (1A) there shall be inserted the following sub-paragraphs—

(1AA) The court may not make a custodial order unless it is...

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