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Armed Forces Act 2006

Section 120: Power of CO to charge etc

260.This section provides that the initial powers of a CO in respect of a case are to bring charges (but only charges which can be heard summarily under the Act) or to refer the case to the DSP. The charges capable of being heard summarily are defined in section 52. Two effects of that definition are that a CO has no power under this section to charge an officer above the rank of lieutenant-colonel (or equivalent rank in the Royal Navy or RAF), and no such power to charge a civilian subject to service discipline.

261.One effect of sections 119 and 120 taken together is that a CO cannot use initial powers to bring charges where the service police are, or should be, aware of the case, unless the case has been referred to the CO either by the service police or the DSP.

262.The section also empowers the Secretary of State to provide by regulations for circumstances in which, where a CO refers one case to the DSP, linked cases must also be treated as referred to the DSP.

263.Where a CO brings charges under this section, they are referred to in the Act as “allocated for summary hearing”.

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