Courts Martial

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11 May 1949.

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Photo of Mr Terence Donovan Mr Terence Donovan , Leicester East 12:00, 11 May 1949

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what system of legal aid exists in the Navy comparable to that which prevails in the Army and Royal Air Force in the case of persons tried by court martial.

Mr. Dugdale:

A scheme for the provision of professional defence for persons tried by court martial in the United Kingdom has been in operation in the Royal Navy since July, 1948. This scheme is comparable to that of the Army and Royal Air Force. Arrangements are being made to extend the scheme overseas.

Photo of Mr Terence Donovan Mr Terence Donovan , Leicester East

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the numbers of naval courts martial held in the years 1938, 1943 and 1948, respectively, distinguishing between those held at home and abroad.

Mr. Dugdale:

In 1938, there were 36 naval courts martial, of which 14 were at home and 22 abroad. In 1943, there were 520 courts martial, but I regret that it is not possible without a disproportionate amount of work to distinguish between those held at home and abroad. In 1948, there were 119 naval courts martial, of which 90 took place at home and 29 abroad.

Photo of Mr Terence Donovan Mr Terence Donovan , Leicester East

Do those figures include disciplinary courts?

Mr. Dugdale:

No, Sir. There were disciplinary courts during the war. There were 237 of such courts in 1943.

Photo of Mr Terence Donovan Mr Terence Donovan , Leicester East

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the legal qualifications required of a person acting as Judge Advocate at a naval court martial.

Mr. Dugdale:

No legal qualifications are required under the Naval Discipline Act or the court martial regulations of the person appointed to officiate as Judge Advocate at a naval court martial. In practice, however, all officers selected for these duties have received a special legal training.

Photo of Mr Henry McGhee Mr Henry McGhee , Penistone

Can the Minister say whether doctors have to qualify in the Navy?

Mr. Dugdale:

That is quite another question.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Does not the Minister think that the time has come when such persons should have legal qualifications and that the officers who take part in those duties should have a legal training?

Mr. Dugdale:

We are now going into that matter and we are in fact providing, at the public expense, legal training for officers, so that they may become legally qualified.