Drystone Chambers has a team of experienced advocates who regularly appear before various Military Courts in the United Kingdom and abroad. Before the closures of some of the Military Court Centres the team appeared in cases in Portsmouth, Aldershot, Bulford, Catterick, Colchester, Gutersloh, Hohne and Osnabruck; now the team regularly appear at hearings in Bulford and Catterick. Members of the team are happy and willing to travel to any location at which the Courts sit, including in addition to the two centres in England, Aldergrove (Northern Ireland), Sennelager (Germany) and Epsikopi (Cyprus).
All members of the Court Martial team recognise and understand the realities of life in the services; members are especially aware that trust is critical to our clients from the start and are sensitive to the special culture in which service personnel serve. Members of the Court Martial team appreciate the concern and distress that comes with being investigated and accused of offences, especially when the accused is abroad. To that end members are happy to advise and become involved early on in any investigation and are proud or our reputation for providing speedy and effective responses to any questions or concerns.
Instructions are received, and welcomed, both from civilian solicitors and from the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (‘AFCLAA’):
- Forces personnel based outside the UK are able to request a member of the Court Martial team by filling in the relevant section on the Legal Aid Form. When completing the Armed Forces Legal Aid Form insert “a Barrister from Drystone Chambers”. Chambers will then be contacted by AFCLAA, and a barrister will be nominated to have conduct of the case.
- The Court Martial team are happy to accept referrals from any solicitor countrywide. Forces personnel based in the UK who have already instructed a civilian solicitor and feel that they deserve the expertise of experienced trial counsel may request our services.
- It should be noted that at present a barrister is professionally unable to attend the police station (whether Civilian or Service) with the serviceman or woman; Drystone Chambers has close links with Solicitors (who themselves have experience in dealing with military personnel and their families) so we may be able to assist in providing details of a solicitor who could attend.
The Clerking team is particularly aware of the logistical difficulties faced by service personnel being stationed world-wide, and are experienced at arranging pre-trial conferences, including by video-link. They have a very good relationship with the Military Court Service.