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Courts Martial

Courts Martial and Military Law

Our Military Law Team specialises in advising and defending members of the armed forces and associated civilians. We regularly appear in the different Court Martial Centres, the Summary Appeal Court and the Service Civilian Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court, Military Inquests and also Service Inquiries. We are well-placed to provide a service to military personnel across many areas of law in the service justice system as well as the civilian justice system, including those where issues of national security arise.

Members of Chambers are instructed routinely by solicitors and also by the Armed Forces Criminal Legal Aid Authority (AFCLAA). In addition, through the public access scheme, armed service personnel can instruct our barristers directly where appropriate - including to handle Service Complaints in written submission and also orally before single Service Boards or Service Inquiries.

Our team has been instructed in some of the most high-profile and serious military prosecutions and public inquiries of recent years.

  • In Autumn 2018, Mathew Sherratt KC, Fiona Edington and Puneet Rai secured acquittals for soldiers 1A and 1B, charged with neglect of duty, who supervised a special military test march during which three soldiers died from heat illness in the Brecon Beacons in 2013 – BBC News Report
  • In the summer of 2018 Mathew Sherratt KC, Fiona Edington, Puneet Rai and Catherine Bradshaw also defended soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment charged with gross negligence manslaughter and neglect arising from a fatality on a live firing exercise on the Castlemartin range in 2012 – BBC News Report
  • Historically Sir Geoffrey Cox KC, Richard Cross and Fiona Edington defended members of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in the country’s first War Crimes Trial in 2006/7, arising out of allegations during Operation Telic, and in 2010/11 Fiona Edington represented Core Participants in the Baha Mousa Public Inquiry, under the chairmanship of Sir William Gage - The Baha Mousa Inquiry Report
  • Fiona Edington and Puneet Rai have defended in several Continuity of Education Allowance cases in both Bulford and Catterick where the officers and senior non-commissioned officers have been charged with fraud and Johan Grefstad has defended a CEA fraud case in the Crown Court in Norwich.

Court Martial

Our military experts frequently appear at all the Courts Martial Centres in the UK, Germany and Cyprus or wherever the court martial is held and will travel wherever their assistance is needed. They defend members of the armed services and their families as well as civilians subject to Service Law.

Our King’s Counsel and criminal barristers represent members of all three Services across the full range of military and civilian criminal prosecutions – including offences of torture, murder, attempted murder, rape, fraud, serious violence and drug offences.

Service Inquiries, Service Complaints and administrative/disciplinary matters

We advise and represent active-duty personnel who are involved in Service Inquiries and those who wish to make Service Complaints. We can advise in the process from the outset, including on Judicial Review and oral Army Board or Service Complaints Oral Hearings, either through direct public access or through instructing solicitors. We are able to advise and assist members of the military with administrative and disciplinary matters.

Disciplinary matters may include being AWOL, insubordination, malingering, damaging Service property and other violations of Service Law.


An inquest is an independent judicial inquiry by a Coroner into the circumstances of a death. Inquest proceedings may draw attention to the existence of circumstances which, if not addressed, could lead to future fatality.

Our barristers represent members of the armed forces or civilians in Inquests, whether the personnel are Interested Parties or family members.

We will take instructions from solicitors or directly. Recent inquests include:

  • Inquest into a death of an Officer Cadet at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst;
  • Inquest into deaths of reservists undergoing SAS selection;
  • Inquest arising from a death of a JNCO at Brecon during an AFT ;
  • Range deaths at Castlemartin and Folkstone;
  • Canoeing death in Cyprus;
  • Diving death in Germany.

Personal Injury, Fatal Accident and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) claims

Members of Chambers take personal injury instructions and AFCS claims for personnel who are serving, or have served, and who need to make such claims. Members will take instructions through solicitors or directly. Such instructions include advice, drafting and representation in civilian court and military tribunal hearings (Pensions Appeal Tribunal).

Members Who Specialise

Sir Geoffrey Cox KC


Mathew Sherratt KC


Charles J W Benson KC


Jonathan Ray


Nadim Bashir


Simon Reevell


Christopher Harding


Simon Gladwell


Fiona Edington


Amiot Vollenweider


Ben Walker Nolan


Juliet Donovan


Puneet Rai


Nicholas Maggs


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