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Armed Forces Act 2006

Miscellaneous

Section 354: Extension of powers of command dependent on rank or rate

725.The operations and effectiveness of the Armed Forces depend fundamentally on the exercise of powers to give commands. Some authority to give commands derives simply from rank. A superior may give commands to someone of lower rank. Other parts of this authority flow from appointment to a particular responsibility, for example the authority of a CO over those within his unit.

726.This section deals with that part of the authority to command which arises simply from rank. It provides so that this authority is not limited by Service: an officer, warrant officer, or non commissioned officer of any Service (Army, Royal Navy, RAF or Royal Marines) has this authority over anyone of lower rank in any of the Services. The section accordingly makes tri-Service the general power to give orders arising from rank.

Section 355: Service of process

727.This section gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations allowing the service of process on “relevant persons” in connection with prescribed proceedings. “Relevant persons” are defined as members of the regular forces, members of the reserve forces who are subject to service law (unless they are so subject on account of undertaking any training or duty) and civilians subject to service discipline (subsection (3)). The regulations may determine when service of process on a person’s CO will count as service on the person himself and when service of process has no effect (subsection (2)), for example when the CO certifies that the person is under orders for active service and that, in the CO’s opinion, there is not enough time for the person to attend the hearing and return.

Section 356: Avoidance of assignment of or charge on pay and pensions etc

728.This re-enacts a current provision to the same effect and makes void assignments and charges made of or against a serviceman’s pay, pension, bounty, grant or allowances. It further prevents a court from making an order which has the effect of preventing a serviceman receiving his pay etc and directing payment of it to another person. There are two exceptions to this general prohibition: the making or variation of attachment of earnings orders, which through the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 may only be made against service pensions and gratuities; and the payment of a serviceman’s earnings to his trustee in bankruptcy for use in discharging his debts.

Section 357: Power of British overseas territory to apply Act, etc

729.Forces raised under the laws of a British overseas territory (“BOT”) are Her Majesty’s forces. Four BOTs (Bermuda, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and Montserrat) raise defence forces under their own law, and this section makes provision in relation to that.

730.Paragraph (a) is necessary because BOTs do not have the power to make legislation with extraterritorial effect without express permission.

731.Paragraph (b) provides that a BOT which makes legislation for its own defence force may do so by applying some or all of the provisions of this Act. This is not mandatory, and a BOT may make separate legislation for its own defence force.

Section 358: Amendments relating to reserve forces

732.This section introduces Schedule 14 which sets out amendments to the Reserve Forces Act 1980 and the Reserve Forces Act 1996, the majority of which are consequential upon changes to the provisions governing the regular forces made in this Act or remove redundant provisions in relation to the reserve forces.

Section 359: Pardons for servicemen executed for disciplinary offences: recognition as victims of First World War

733.This section provides that all servicemen executed for certain offences, described as “relevant offences”, committed between 4 August 1914 and 11 November 1918 shall be taken to be pardoned. The relevant offences, which include desertion and cowardice, are listed in subsection (3). The section does not lift the convictions or sentences of the servicemen affected. Nor does it create any new rights, entitlements or liabilities. It does not affect the royal prerogative of mercy.

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