House of Lords - Explanatory Note
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Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.] - continued          House of Lords

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Clause 26: Interpretation

58. This clause defines the terms "the 1955 Acts" and "the 1957 Act" for the purposes of the Bill.

Clause 27: Repeals

59. This clause introduces Schedule 4 to the Bill that lists all the provisions to be repealed as a consequence of the changes made by this Bill.

Clause 28: Short title and commencement

60. This clause provides that the provisions of the Act (except clauses 22 and 24 which come into force on Royal Assent) are to come into force on a day or days to be appointed by a commencement order by the Secretary of State.


61. There will be additional costs arising from the establishment of the summary appeal courts and the other new arrangements. The majority of these costs will arise from the need for additional lawyers, investigators and other staff to administer the new procedures; the travel and subsistence costs of these and witnesses; and increased take up of the armed forces' legal aid scheme. The total costs will be sensitive to the number of appeals to the summary appeal courts. For planning purposes we are assuming that there will be some 850-900 appeals to this court each year and, on this basis, the estimated cost of implementing the changes included in the Bill will be of the order of £6,500,000 per annum in a typical year. The estimated start up costs in 2000-2001 of some £1,750,000 will cover development of the computer system that provides the administrative support for the Army's disciplinary procedures, accommodation and office equipment and activity associated with the recruitment of additional personnel.


62. The estimated Service manpower requirement represented by the costs shown in paragraph 60 is for 95 additional personnel. There will also be an estimated requirement for 37 additional civilians to be employed by the Ministry of Defence. The largest single element in these figures is for 53 more non-commissioned officers in the Royal Military Police. These will deal with the predicted increase in the proportion of relatively minor offences that will be referred to the Royal Military Police rather than being investigated by military units themselves. This change in pattern is expected because of the possibility that such offences, which in most cases are dealt with summarily, may in future be the subject of appeals, with a potential concomitant need for evidence that has been gathered more formally.


63. There will be no regulatory impact on businesses.


64. It is anticipated that the Act will be commenced by or on 2 October 2000.


65. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, the Minister of State for Defence Procurement, has made the following statement:

    In my view the provisions of the Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.] are compatible with the Convention rights.

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Prepared: 19 November 1999