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Armed Forces Act 2001

Evidence given before boards of inquiry

138.Boards of inquiry (BOIs) are used by the Services as a mechanism to help establish the cause of accidents. To encourage witnesses to give full and frank evidence without the worry of self-incrimination, the SDAs provide that evidence given before BOIs is inadmissible in disciplinary proceedings (unless those proceedings are for perjury in relation to evidence given at the inquiry). Previously, this exclusion of evidence only applied where a person was giving evidence before a BOI set up by his own Service, even though members of one Service can find themselves giving evidence before a BOI set up by another of the Services. Paragraphs 37 and 38 amend the Army and Air Force Acts to ensure that evidence before any BOI cannot be used in disciplinary proceedings. There is no corresponding amendment to the Naval Discipline Act as the Navy provisions for BOIs are in regulations. It is intended to make an equivalent change to those regulations.

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