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Army Legal Services

Commanding Officer's Summary Hearing

This is one of the most common areas of military law.

Most service personnel will end up appearing before their CO at some point. It is important that you understand what is going on and what can happen to you.

A bad CO's summary hearing can ruin a good career, so it is important to take legal advice.

It is possible to appeal against the decision of a CO taken at Summary Hearing.

Your CO or OC must investigate a charge reported or referred to him by causing such enquiries, or further enquiries (if any), to be made which he considers necessary,and considering any witness statements or other material relevant to the charge.

The charges that your CO may deal with himself are set out below:

  • Offences concerning sentries
  • Failure to attend for duty, neglect of duty etc.
  • Taking stores etc., abandoned by the enemy.
  • Using/offering violence to a superior officer
  • Threatening/insubordinate language
  • Disobeying lawful commands
  • Failure to provide a sample for drug testing
  • Obstructing provost officers
  • Disobedience to Standing Order
  • AWOL
  • Failure to report or apprehend deserters or absentees
  • Malingering (falsely pretending to be sick or disabled)
  • Drunkenness
  • Fighting
  • Threatening etc. words/behaviour
  • Damage to/loss of public/service property
  • Unlawful disposal of, damage to aircraft etc
  • Conduct likely to impair the efficiency or effectiveness of signal equipment or to interfere with or modify a message or signal
  • Misapplication or waste of public/service property
  • Losing or making away with clothing, arms, ammunition or equipment issued
  • Damaging billets etc.
  • Inaccurate certification of ships or aircraft
  • Improperly releasing or allowing persons to escape (not wilfully)
  • Resisting arrest
  • Escaping from confinement
  • Unauthorised disclosure of information
  • Making false answer on attestation
  • Making false official documents or tampering with official documects.
  • Ill-treating subordinates
  • Disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind
  • Attempting to commit a military offence (only if that offence itself could be dealt with summarily)
  • Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline
  • Committing a civil offence shown below:
    1. Common assault or battery.
    2. Driving without due care and attention or driving without reasonable consideration.
    3. Dangerous riding of a cycle.
    4. Riding a cycle without due care and attention or riding a cycle without reasonable consideration.
    5. Taking a conveyance without the consent of the owner.
    6. Taking a pedal cycle without the consent of the owner.
    7. Criminal Damage not exceeding £2000.
    8. Tampering with a motor vehicle on a road.
    9. Unlawful possession of a controlled drug.
    10. Theft.
    11. Interfering with a vehicle.
    12. Driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol.
    13. Being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol.
    14. Making off without payment not exceeding £100.

LEXCELAccredited Criminal LitigationAuthorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, number 439818.