The Draft Protocol on Jurisdiction as between the Civil and Service Justice Systems

In 2020, an independent review of the Service Justice System (SJS) by Judge Lyons concluded that murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault by penetration, child and domestic abuses cases (where alleged to have happened in the UK) should no longer be within the jurisdiction of the SJS and should be handled by the Civilian Justice System (CJS).

In 2021, the Defence Committee Inquiry into Women in the Armed Forces came to the same conclusion.

The Defence Secretary rejected these calls for change and the Govt was able to defeat an opposition amendment that would have ensured that, in future, all military murder, manslaughter, rape and sexual assault by penetration offences would have to be dealt with in a civil criminal court.

In response to a judicial review brought by three rape survivors in the military, the Defence Secretary was nonetheless ordered to put the arrangements for determining jurisdiction on a statutory footing and so a consultation was published on what a Protocol addressing the jurisdiction of the handling of criminal offences (including rape) might look like (here:

The CMJ responded to the consultation on 20/04/23:

CMJ Consultation Response CPS&SPA Protocol

The document sets out the background to the consultation, highlights some current issues that are relevant to the work of the SPA (particularly identifying the need for independent inspection) and proposes various amendments to the Draft Protocol.

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