HC Deb 24 May 1922 vol 154 c1171

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what duties are performed by the Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet during the periods at which he is not officiating at naval courts martial; whether it is a part of his duties to prepare circumstantial letters, frame charges, and prepare lists of questions for the prosecutor, for use at courts martial at which he will officiate as Deputy Judge Advocate; and whether this has ever been done?


Apart from duties in connection with particular courts-martial at the home ports, the Deputy-Judge Advocate performs instructional work of lecturing and examining officers on Naval Law and court-martial procedure. When this officer is employed at courts-martial his duties do not, as might be inferred, begin and end with his attendance at the trial. Article 673 of the King's Regulations, which deals with these duties, states, amongst other things, that the prosecutor (and for that matter the accused also) is at all times entitled to the Judge-Advocate's opinion on any question of law relating to the charge or trial; and further that it is the Judge Advocate's duty, whether consulted or not, to inform the Convening Authority of any informality or defect in the charge—and of course he can only be in a position to do so after he has carefully perused the papers.

The Admiralty have every reason to believe that the present Deputy-Judge Advocate of the Fleet—an officer of considerable experience—impartially performs these his lawful duties. It is no part of his duties to prepare circumstantial letters, frame charges or prepare lists of questions for the prosecutor at a court-martial at which he will officiate as Deputy-Judge Advocate of the Fleet.