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MPs want Army to open up system of justice

By Stephen Smith, Employment Solicitor. THE way the British Army deals with internal disciplinary matters should be monitored by an outside body for the first time, according to a new campaign.

The military justice system – operated solely by Army offices – can see soldiers being imprisoned or their careers being brought to an end, without the opportunity of an external appeal.

That has led to complaints about bullying by some officers, in the knowledge they will be backed by others higher up in the service. The number of complaints has risen to more than 500 for the first time.

Now MPs and former officers have began a campaign to force the Army to have its complaints examined by an outside, civilian body, such as an Ombudsman.

Madeleine Moon, a member of the Defence Select Committee, said: “There is such an impediment in the right to justice. There needs to be a change.”

A former military lawyer had to wait for more than four years to have his complaint resolved, by which time his career was over in any event. Nicholas Mercer said soldiers were penalised for speaking out. “I know one who repeatedly threatened with disciplinary action for alleging misconduct. It subsequently came to light that his army records had been tampered with and a promotions boards deliberately thrown.”

The Ministry of Defence has rejected the idea, and said the Army was committed to treating its soldiers fairly.


*The Glasgow Law Practice has represented soldiers in internal army disciplinary matters. Contact