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Defence Reform Act 2014

Section 45: Call out of members of reserve forces

148.The obligations of members of a reserve force to attend for duty are covered mainly by the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”). These obligations include a duty to serve if “called out” in accordance with an order made under the 1996 Act. When such an order is in force, the Secretary of State may call out individual reservists by serving a notice on them requiring them to present themselves for service at a specified time and place. Failure to comply with such a notice is an offence under section 96 of the 1996 Act.

149.Sections 52, 54, 56(1) and 56(1A) of the 1996 Act each contain a separate power to make a call-out order in particular circumstances. Broadly speaking, an order may be made under section 52 if national danger is imminent; an order may be made under section 54 if warlike operations are in preparation or progress; an order may be made under section 56(1) if it is necessary to use armed forces on operations for the protection of life or property; and an order may be made under section 56(1A) where the Defence Council have authorised use of members of the armed forces for urgent work of national importance.

150.The intention is to extend the call-out powers in the 1996 Act so that members of the reserve forces may be called out for any purpose for which regular forces may be used. Accordingly, section 45(4) replaces subsections (1) and (1A) of section 56 of the 1996 Act with new subsection (1B). This allows the Secretary of State to make a call-out order under section 56 where it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary or desirable to use members of a reserve force for any purpose for which members of the regular forces may be used.

151.Reservists called out under an order made under section 56(1) or (1A) of the 1996 Act may be required to serve under that order for up to 9 months. Reservists called out under an order made under section 54 of the 1996 Act may be required to serve under that order for up to 12 months (or longer if an extension order is made under section 55(11)). To align the period for which a reservist may be required to serve under an order made under new section 56(1B) with the period for which a reservist may be required to serve under an order made under section 54 (in circumstances where an extension order under section 55(11) has not been made), section 45(6) amends section 57 of the 1996 Act.

152.A separate call-out power in section 32 of the 1996 Act applies only to members of the reserve forces who have entered into a “special agreement” under Part 4 of the 1996 Act (such reservists are also known as ‘High Readiness Reservists’). To align the period for which such reservists may be required to serve on call out under section 32 of the 1996 Act with the period for which reservists may be required to serve under an order under new section 56(1B), section 45(1) amends section 28(3) of the 1996 Act.

153.It is intended that the circumstances in which the powers in sections 52, 54 and new 56(1B) may be exercised may overlap. Section 45(8)(b) inserts a new subsection (2) into section 64 of the 1996 Act to make this clear.

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