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This page is maintained in association with AMCA. All updates relevant to Court Martial sittings and JAG policies will be displayed here, rather than on the Military News page. Further information is available from the OJAG site. The Memoranda can be accessed from the dropdown box above this message.

Service Court Users Group - 9th May 2024
The latest Service Court Users Group met at the RCJ. All judge advocates attended alongside representatives of the MCS, AFCLAA, the SPA and AMCA. Please see the following headlines and tips which are of relevance to AMCA members: here   back to the top

Sentencing Guide - Version 6. Important Information
To clarify the position re. Service Disciplinary Offences in Version 6 of the Guidance. Version 6 does not yet have a guide for a number of Service Disciplinary Offences. In those circumstances, reference should be made to Version 5. Version 6 has been amended to include a link to Version 5. In due course amendments to Version 6 will be made to include all Service Disciplinary Offences.   back to the top

Digitisation of the Service Justice System
The SJS is striving to digitise and indeed to overtake the Crown Court in it’s adoption of technology. Video capture has gone live in all courts and is also capable of being used on deployment. JAG also remains committed to remote hearings for all preliminary matters in all but the most complex cases. The next step is the adoption of Thompson Reuters Case Center (sic). It is intended that this will go live in September and in short order the board will also be provided with tablets in order to access bundles etc. electronically. Users of CaseLines in the Crown Court will be familiar with Case Center as it is very similar. However, practitioners who would like to familiarise themselves can register early for an account [here]. A word of warning, experienced Crown Court practitioners are likely to find the experience quite annoying as this is what we could have had in the Crown Court had the money gone into the upgrades MCS has opted for instead of Common Platform.
Case Center (sic) is expected to have the ability to play CCTV and the captured footage will be uploaded after the trial should it be relevant in any future proceedings. There is also a new PTPH form which will cover the SAC, SCC & CM. This is part of JAGs renewed Better Case Management drive which includes the new practice memorandum. As part of that a final witness table now needs to be submitted by the defence. This can be found [here].
Finally, there is now an improved process for the public to watch proceedings remotely. This is an ideal resource for those struggling with mini-pupils etc. and MCS are keen to support understanding of the SJS. You can apply for a link [here].   back to the top

Annual Report Of The Office Of The Judge Advocate General 2021 – 2022
This is the second report of the current Judge Advocate General, in which he aims to provide an insight into events during the past year and make some observations on what lies ahead. [Access here].   back to the top

Judge Advocate General Practice Note JAG 2/22
Access To Recordings Of Court Proceedings. If any person wishes to listen to any part of a recording relating to on-going court proceedings, leave must first be obtained from the Judge Advocate sitting in the case or, if the Judge Advocate is not readily available, another Judge Advocate. [Access here].   back to the top

Judge Advocate General Practice Note JAG 1/22
Service Courts will henceforth adopt the stipulated procedure for all hearings where anyone attends via video link. The Practice Note refers to mode of dress, venue, IT Equipment and the occasion when the DAO is not present with the defendant. [Access here].   back to the top

AMCA update - new policy documents from OJAG and MCS (6 Jan 2022)
1. A message from JAG on Covid restrictions - please note these are significantly different to the approach of the Crown Courts
Joint Message from the Judge Advocate General and Director MCS, Dated 10 December 2021
2. The Covid Protocol - please note the 48 hour rule for papers, there will be no return to Board members using their own devices as they did in the initial re-opening phase and screens for the Board are still some way off. I am told that counsel will still be permitted to enter the building from 08:30, contrary to this document.
Covid-19 Health And Safety Protocol
3. New SOP for Board Selection - This has come about following some difficulties with the selection of one Board and political pressure to include more females on Boards. The services are required to supply a representative sample of genders inline with the gender split of the services. Selection after that is random. You will note that a serving home office police officer can sit as a reservist but a service policeman cannot sit. It may be worth asking for disclosure of the profession of any reservists in case you wish to take a point on this.
4. MCS Assize Programme 2022 - 2023
2022 Assize Programme – Version 2

Access the full note [here]   back to the top

Message from the Judge Advocate General and Director of the Military Court Service Dated 10 December 2021
Because of the government introduction of "Plan B", there will be some additional requirements to all current COVID-19 mitigation measures as a condition of entry into the court centres requiring, inter alia, all participants and attendees to take a Lateral Flow Test the day before attendance, and members of the public and press are required to provide evidence of being fully vaccinated on entry to the court centre. Full details [here].   back to the top

AFCLAA's approach to taking contributions to Legal Aid
Due to the lack of engagement/receipt of LA applications and refusal of LA by Service Personnel (SP) at the DSP referral stage, AFCLAA invite SP to submit an application for LA once their case has been directed for trial, with the requirement of an immediate cash payment in order to grant LA and instruct a legal representative. The procedure is explained [here].   back to the top

Revised plan for Military Court Centres after lifting of lockdown restrictions on 19 July 2021
An update from the Judge Advocate General and Director of the Military Court Service. The Prime Minister announced on 12 July 2021 that COVID-19 restrictions will be fully lifted on 19 July 2021 as planned. MCS have reviewed the impact of this decision on the operation of the Military Court Centres and taken into account a variety of factors including the need to maintain the operation of the courts during what will be a challenging phase of the pandemic. Link [here].   back to the top

16 June 2012 - Revised Plan For Return To Work After Lifting Of Lockdown Restrictions
The Prime Minister announced on Monday that Covid restrictions will not be fully lifted on 21 June as planned. JAG and DMCS have reviewed the impact of this decision on the operation of the Military Court Centres and advise [as stated here]. Thanks to AMCA.   back to the top

Service courts will gradually return to a normal operating pattern.
The detailed plan of The Judge Advocate General And The Director Of The military Court Service can be found [here]. Thanks to AMCA.   back to the top

MCTC details of its plans to move out of lockdown.
The primary principle for the gradual and cautious easing of restrictions will be in line with that of the UK Gov roadmap and will be informed by the National Framework for Prison Regimes and Services HERE. The current scheme, as set out [here] runs to 21 June 2021 and should be consulted by all court martial advocates. A section 9 statement relating to the R-v-Manning concerns about the effect of COVID on detention at MCTC is available to Aspals members [here].   back to the top

Better Case Management in the Court Martial - BCM(CM), Practice Memorandum
MEMORANDUM 3 amends "Practice in the Service Courts Collected Memoranda" Version 6 dated 1 September 2016. In that document Memorandum 3 (PCMH and Listing Practice) and Memorandum 13 (BCM(CM)) are to be removed and replaced with this new Memorandum 3. Version 7 of the Collected Memoranda will be issued in due course incorporating this change. [Available here].   back to the top

Protocol for working with e-bundles in the Service Justice System
This Protocol is designed to enable the Prosecution and the Defence to create bundles to the same standard and format. It provides for the Defence and the Prosecution creating separate bundles in order to avoid placing an undue burden on any one party. The procedures in this Protocol reflect many aspects of practice in the Civilian Justice System. [Available here].   back to the top

Protocol for Digital Working in the Service Justice System
This Protocol outlines the procedures for working with digital case files within the Service Justice System. This is an interim protocol that will be updated as further developments are put in place. Its main aim is to support remote working, with an approach that makes use of the resources currently available to in the Service Justice System. [Available here].   back to the top

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Aspals Legal Pages 1997-