Military Law

2 Bedford Row is, for many easily the best criminal set in the country.

Legal 500 2015

Our members are proud of Chambers long history of representing and defending serving officers, men and women in the different service tribunals.

2 Bedford Row has a long history of association with the armed forces and members of chambers maintain close links with all three Services and the Ministry of Defence. A number of members of chambers have military backgrounds having formally served within the Armed Forces.

Members of chambers regularly appear in the different Court Martial Centres (“CMCs”), The Court Martial Appeal Court, Military Inquests and Service Inquiries, the Summary Appeal Court and the Service Civilian Court. Recently, with changes in the way barristers can accept instructions directly from members of the public, members of chambers have been instructed via the ‘Public Access‘ system. This has meant that Service personnel have instructed members of chambers in respect of Service Complaints in written submission before single Service Boards.

Courts’ Martial

Barristers from 2 Bedford Row regularly appear in the different CMCs defending members of our armed forces as well as civilians prosecuted before the Service Civilian Courts. Chambers also acts for family members of service personal.

Both Queen’s Counsel and barristers from 2 Bedford Row have acted for members of all three Services across the whole range of military and civilian offences – including allegations of torture, murder, attempted murder, rape, fraud, serious violence and drug offences. We have appeared in CMCs abroad, Court Martials established on operations, and CMCs in the UK.

Members of chambers have enjoyed significant success in representing service personnel and associated civilians. A brief resume of those cases is set out below:

  • William Clegg QC appeared in a murder trial at Bulford CMC arising out of the second Iraq war; his client was acquitted.
  • Stephen Ferguson appeared in a trial of manslaughter, which took place at Basra Airbase; his client was acquitted.
  • Stephen Vullo appeared in a torture trial at Bulford CMC arising out of the second Iraq war. This trial resulted in wholesale changes to way that Court Martials were conducted and forced a change in Army training policy regarding the Law of Armed Conflict.
  • Andrew McGee and Austin Stoton co-defended in an attempted murder trial at Sennelager CMC; both defendants were acquitted.
  • William Clegg QC appeared before the Court Martial Appeal Court in relation to a successful appeal against sentence imposed in a high profile firearms case.
  • Christopher Martin and Barry Gilbert co-defended two Officers at Colchester CMC charged with supplying cocaine; both were acquitted.
  • Angelo Power co-defended with Andrew McGee and Christopher Martin in a violence trial at Sennelager CMC; their clients were acquitted.

We have also been heavily involved in many of the recent and historic high profile prosecutions arising out of offences allegedly committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland.

Members of chambers are routinely involved in proceedings from an early stage in both the Military and Service Civilian Courts. Often, members of chambers are instructed at the ‘pre-charge’ stage and we have success in making written representations to the Service Prosecuting Authority resulting in proceedings being discontinued against the suspects at this early stage. We can also draft representations to the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA) to secure funding for expert witnesses and professional litigators.

Potential clients can approach us directly through a dedicated page (‘Public Access’) on this website. If necessary, we can refer clients to UK based solicitors with appropriate experience of the armed forces if their cases require that. Chambers has video-conferencing facilities to facilitate conferences no matter where the military client is serving.

 

Boards’ of Inquiry

The purpose of a Board of Inquiry is to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding an incident, to learn lessons and to make recommendations to Senior Officers for the improvement of working practices, procedures or equipment, which could help to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident happening again. Chambers has a number of retired military officers amongst its members who are well placed to act for and represent parties to a Board of Inquiry, It is inevitably advantageous to instruct counsel early prior to a Inquiry being heard. Boards of Inquiry place a burden on counsel of not only understanding a clients position in the greater scheme of things but also to be fluent and conversant with working practices, procedures and the equipment of the armed forces. Instructing counsel from chambers ensures that there is access to both legal expertise and a ready comprehension of military matters. In the event that the Boards report is forwarded to a Coroner, a barrister is then well placed to represent the member of the armed forces in the Coroners’ Court.

 

Military Inquests

An Inquest is an independent judicial inquiry into the facts surrounding a death which in England and Wales is conducted by a Coroner. The Inquest may not name who was legally responsible for causing the death. However, the Coroner does have the power to investigate not just the main cause of death but also any acts or omissions that directly led to the cause of death. The purpose of an Inquest is to determine who the deceased was; and when, where and in what circumstances the deceased came by his or her death. To that end a coroner will attempt to establish the medical cause of death and by what means it arose. The inquest may draw attention to the existence of circumstances, which, if nothing is done, might lead to further deaths in the same circumstances.

Barristers from 2 Bedford Row are frequently involved in inquests arising from Military matters and are typically instructed well advance of inquests being heard to advice on all points of importance.

Contact information


For further information and enquiries please contact our clerks team.


+44 (0)20 7440 8888



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