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Armed Forces Act 2006

Persons subject to service law
Section 367: Persons subject to service law: regular and reserve forces

742.This section provides for when members of the armed forces are “subject to service law”. The test whether a person is “subject to service law” is a key one for most of the provisions of the Act. For example the various disciplinary offences under Part 1 of the Act are defined so that they relate to conduct of persons “subject to service law” (Some provisions of the Act also relate , and a few only relate, to “civilians subject to service discipline”: that term is defined by section 370 and Schedule 15).

743.All members of the armed forces are in the “regular forces” or the “reserve forces” (These expressions are defined in section 374). Under this section all members of the regular forces are subject to service law at all times. Member of the reserve forces are, broadly speaking, subject to service law only when carrying out training or duties or when “called out” for service under the legislation relating to the Reserve Forces (the Reserve Forces Acts 1980 and 1996).

Section 368: References to members of the regular forces

744.This section makes further provision about who, for the purposes of this Act, is a member of the regular forces. Members of the regular forces generally have an obligation to join the reserve forces after they leave the regulars. Some of them have a further commitment, after being in the reserves, under which they may be “recalled to service”. This section provides that, where such a person is recalled to service, he again becomes a member of the regular forces. In such a case he becomes a member of the regular forces from acceptance back into service until he is released or discharged. As a member of the regular forces he is (by virtue of section 367) subject to service law at all times.

745.This section also deals further with the position of officers. Officers who have been granted permanent commissions normally retain them for life. However, unless he has been recalled to regular service under this section, an officer is only to be regarded as being a member of the regular forces if he is on the “active list”. An officer is “on the active list” only if he comes within a description provided in Queen’s Regulations, Royal Warrant or an order under section 2 of the Air Force (Constitution) Act 1917.

Section 369: Members of British overseas territories’ forces serving with UK forces

746.This section provides that when a member of a British overseas territory force undertakes any duty or training with a regular or reserve force he becomes subject to service law as if he were a member of that force of an equivalent rank or rate (subsections (1) and (2)). The section also empowers the Secretary of State to make orders (by statutory instrument) that modify any of the Act’s provisions with respect to members of a British overseas territory force who fall or have fallen within the provisions of this section (subsection (3)).

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