Armed Forces : Legal Representation — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:20 pm on 25th January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Astor of Hever Lord Astor of Hever The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 3:20 pm, 25th January 2012

My Lords, as my noble friend said, I will not be able to respond to specific questions on this case; the department must protect the personal data of our employees, and I do not wish to prejudice any possible future disciplinary or administrative action. However, I can say that the MoD will pay for the defence of an individual charged with an offence that is committed in the course of their duties and while acting in accordance with any applicable regulations or direction. However, where someone may have fallen short of the high standards we expect of our personnel, it must be investigated and, if appropriate, proceed to trial. In this situation, legal aid funding will provide representation according to the charge and the defence case, engaging counsel if and when appropriate. All legal representatives used by the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority are civilian solicitors or barristers registered with the Law Society or the Bar Council. By funding appropriate legal representation, we are confident that the Armed Forces legal aid scheme well serves individuals subject to the service justice system.