standing civilian court

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A court, provided for by the Armed Forces Act 1976, for the trial outside the UK of lesser offences committed by certain civilians, e.g. the families of servicemen (see service law). The range of offences which may be dealt with is limited to those which could be dealt with by a magistrates' court had the offences been committed in the UK and the powers of punishment available to the court are limited to up to six months' imprisonment and/or a fine of £5 000. The Secretary of State for Defence (with the approval of the Lord Chancellor) specifies which areas such courts serve and draws up panels of serving officers and civilians to sit as assessors. The Lord Chancellor appoints legally qualified persons to act as magistrates in the courts. The court consists of a magistrate sitting alone, unless the accused is under 17 years old, in which case up to two members or assessors will also sit. The Armed Forces Act 2006 will replace this court with the service civilian court.

Subjects: Law.

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