The scale of fees payable to lawyers representing
service personnel was requested.
The fees are based on those used in civilian
criminal legal aid, which are contained in a civilian handbook,
which lays out the principles of administration, and the rates,
in accordance with the Legal Aid Act 1988 (The Legal Aid Handbook
1998-99 "Legal Aid in Criminal and Care Proceedings (Costs)
If a serving individual to be tried by court-martial
in the UK chooses a solicitor, the rates for preparation are laid
out in the handbook. The main rates are:
||£53.00 per hour|
||£45.00 per hour|
|Travelling & Waiting||£24.75 per hour
|Routine letters written and routine telephone calls
||£3.45 per item|
Advocacy is paid for under either the "Graduated Fee
Scheme" or "Ex Post Facto".
(a) Graduated Fee Scheme: This applies where a criminal
charge would arise, even if the offender were not in the Services,
for example, theft. It also covers guilty pleas, "cracked"
trials (when a plea is changed on the day of the trial) and trials
which are comparatively straightforward.
(b) Ex Post Facto: If the offence(s) committed by the
individual is of a military criminal nature, such as absence without
Fees for guilty pleas range from £115 to £355 (except
for a "Class A" offence such as murder or manslaughter).
The fees can be increased if there is a significant amount of
evidence to be reviewed.
Fees for cracked trials range from £251.50 to £467.50
(except for a Class A offence). The fees can be increased if there
is a significant amount of evidence to be reviewed.
Fees for contested trials range from £240 to £446
(except for an offence which falls under Class A). The fees can
be increased to take account of refreshers (daily rate to be paid
to the advocate while in court), the length of trial, and the
amount of written and oral evidence to be reviewed.
All trials held in Germany and other stations abroad where
there is no local lawyer qualified in English law available to
represent Service personnel facing a military court are considered,
for cost purposes, to be held in London. This arrangement overcomes
the problem of travel costs and other disbursements which are
not allowable under the civilian legal aid scheme. There is no
penalty to Service personnel, as there is a large practising bar
in London giving the accused a wide choice of counsel. The applicant
for legal aid may request the services of a lawyer outside London,
providing, of course, the nominated lawyer accepts the fees, and
that the applicant agrees to pay any travel costs and other disbursements
to bring them to London.
(The same rules apply to trials in the UK. A soldier stationed
in Aldershot would be expected to consult a solicitor from the
same area. However, in cases where personnel are stationed in
a remote area away from firms of solicitors, reasonable travel
costs would be allowed. This is also the practice in civil criminal
matters where it would be reasonable to expect the accused's legal
representative to be from the local area and any claim for travel
in excess of 25 miles for a return journey would not be allowed.)
Costs in each case will be unique, but nearly all cases abroad
attract the following elements:
Fees for travel days and days out of court ("fallow"
days). A "fallow" day fee of £80 is allowed, for
every day a solicitor or barrister is out of UK, but not in court.
Return civil air travel.
Free (to the lawyer) accommodation and messing.
Professional or "brief" fees; which
may include experts to attend the trial.
Advocate's "Refresher" fees for any
day in court other than the first.
Any other reasonable expense.
The brief fee (which includes all preparation) is currently
set at £600, with a daily refresher of £175. It was
increased last year and is reviewed regularly. The brief fee is
negotiable if the lawyer can justify it because, for example,
the case is complex. Before increasing the fees etc, a comparison
is made against the fees payable had the trial taken place in
The Committee asked about Ministry of Defence Police activity
in respect of wrecks.
Members of the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) enjoy the
powers and privileges of constables, when in the UK or UK territorial
waters, in any place to which section 2(2) of the Ministry of
Defence Police Act 1987 applies. Elsewhere, they have jurisdiction,
when in the UK or UK territorial waters, in relation to the matters
set out in section 2(3) of the Act. Those matters include Crown
property. Her Majesty's Ships, which remain in the ownership of
the Secretary of State for Defence, even after they have sunk,
are Crown property. Thus, members of the MDP have jurisdiction
when acting in respect of naval wrecks lying in UK territorial
waters. They do not enjoy such jurisdiction when the wrecks lie
in international waters. As was stated in answer to a recent question
(Official Report for 22 January, column 423W), however, where
it is alleged that material has been taken from a naval wreck,
in territorial or international waters the MDP will investigate
that allegation. If the wreck lies in international waters but
material from it has been brought to the UK, the MDP will pursue
investigations in the normal way. Where it appears that the material
has been taken to a country outside the UK, the MDP will liaise
directly with the relevant agencies in that country.
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and
the Regions, in respect of England and Wales, and the Lord Advocate,
in respect of Scotland, have declared a wreck amnesty, to run
from 23 January to 24 April 2001. Under section 236 of the Merchant
Shipping Act 1995, anyone finding or taking possession of any
wreck in United Kingdom waters, or finding or taking possession
of any wreck and bringing it within United Kingdom waters, must
declare it to the Receiver of Wreck. "Wreck" has a rather
technical definition under section 255 of the Merchant Shipping
Act 1995. A person, even the owner of the wreck, who fails without
reasonable excuse to report the wreck to the Receiver of Wreck,
is guilty of a criminal offence and may be liable to a fine. If
the person is not the owner of the wreck, he may also forfeit
any salvage rights and may be liable to pay twice the value of
the wreck to the owner of it or the person entitled to it.
The aim of the amnesty is to make finders of wreck aware
of these provisions and to encourage the reporting of past finds.
The amnesty has been agreed by the Crown Prosecution Service.
It is available only for failures to report wreck that occurred
before the commencement of the amnesty. The amnesty has been well
received by the sports diving community, maritime leisure organisations
and the diving press.
In addition to co-ordinating the MDP participation in the
wreck amnesty, the MDP Force Crime Reduction Officer sits on the
Wreck Amnesty Working Group alongside the Receiver of Wreck and
colleagues from the MoD, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the
Royal Commission on Historic Monuments, the Nautical Archaeological
Society, the Sub-Aqua Association and the British Sub-Aqua Club
amongst others. The MDP Force Crime Reduction Officer also provides
advice to MDP officers on crime reduction strategies and policing
arrangements concerning naval wreck sites.
The Committee asked for information about the numbers of applications
for redress of complaint, including petitions to the Sovereign.
1. The Service statistics for 1999 and 2000 for petitions
to the Sovereign and redress of complaint (showing in the latter
case the level to which referred) are as follows:
(a) RN only collate statistics by financial year.
(b) The RN and RAF do not hold central figures for redress
cases dealt with below MoD/Command level.
(c) Army figures are available for redress of complaint
cases referred to divisional level, as follows: 1999-164, 2000-167.
(d) Figures reflect the year in which the redress was
referred to the level shown.
(e) Cases referred to the Defence Council are in practice
considered by the Service Boards.