Summary & Court Martial Appeals

If you’re looking to contest the outcome of your commanding officer, you’ll need to begin the military court martial appeal process.

Appealing to the Summary Appeal Court is not a simple process and can be incredibly confusing. DPP Law’s solicitors can represent you throughout the court martial appeal process and work to get you a fair hearing for your court martial appeal.

Summary & Court Martial Appeals Procedures

Since the introduction of the Armed Forces Act in 2006, service members of the Royal Navy, British Army and the Royal Air Force have operated under a single system of service law.

As a result, in the United Kingdom, the civilian court and the military court run alongside each other, with both justice systems offering a court of appeal. Those who have contested their commanding officer will need a court martial appeal – a separate process to that of a civilian appeal.

Depending on the alleged offence committed, a summary, special or general court martial appeal process can begin. Regardless of the type, the Judge Advocate General and Judge Martial of all the Forces is responsible for these court-martial processes.


A summary court martial appeal will be a much quicker and straightforward process. The cases brought in front of this court are usually for minor offenses allegedly committed by soldiers – usually presided over by a single officer.

However, if you’re facing a more complex situation, serious criminal appeals will go through a special or general court martial appeal process.

Special and General

Special court martial appeals are often presided over by three or more members and a military judge (but sometimes it can be a military judge alone).

A general court martial appeal is the most complex of the three appeal processes. Due to it being the most serious level of military courts, it’s usually presided over by three to five members and sometimes warrant officers. Service members’ appeals that go through this process have allegedly seriously violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) – such as arson, conspiracy, or manslaughter.

You still have the right to legal representation throughout these processes, regardless of a summary, special or general court martial appeal, but the more serious, the more expertise you’ll require.

How DPP Can Help?

Due to the complexity of these appeals, it’s highly recommended to seek legal advice and a law firm, and is often seen as a prerequisite before appealing.

The military solicitors at DPP Law have more than 30 years’ worth of experience in successfully defending clients accused of offences in a variety of specialist areas.

So, once you have decided to appeal the decision made by your commanding officer, DPP Law’s expertise in the military justice system is key if you want to have a strong appeal, presenting your case in the best light in appeals for the armed forces.

DPP Law Can Advise On Military Law Cases Such As:

Alongside this, our solicitors advise Individuals on:

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does The Court Martial Appeal Court Do?

The Court Martial Appeal Court hears appeals from military courts which are known as courts martial. They look for any legal errors, missed information or potential for review of the case over a variety of alleged offences.

How Long Does a Court Martial Appeal Take?

The process can vary in length, with Summary Court Martial appeals taking the least amount of time (around one month) due to the minor alleged offences usually involved. Special and General Court Martial Appeals can take much longer, with the longer timeframes taking years.

What Is The Court-Martial Appeal Process?

Regardless of if the accused service member has opted for either trial in the court martial or appeared before their commanding officer, the Court-Martial Appeal Process can be used by the accused who are dissatisfied with the outcome of a summary hearing.

How Long Do I Have To Make An Appeal?

An appeal must be submitted within 14 days, starting from the date that the sentence was given – but this can be extended with authorisation.


The simpler and more minor cases and criminal matters will be handled by the Commanding Officer to begin with, but once appealed will face the Summary Court Martial Appeal Courts and be presided over by one member.

If the case is more complex or serious, appeals from the accused will be put before the Special or General Court Martial Appeal Courts – in which more members and warrant officers will preside.

Regardless of the type of case or court, the Court Martial Appeal Court rarely has straightforward and easy to understand processes, making it particularly time consuming.

Get in touch with DPP Law’s expert military solicitors to make the process smoother. They can work to give you the best foundation to appeal, represent you before the court and ensure that you receive a fair hearing.


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