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The structure of ALS

Areas of Expertise

The ALS delivers military legal support to the British Army.


Legal Advisory

Legal Advisory branch is based at Headquarters Land Forces in Andover. They advise the chain of command on all aspects of military and administrative law. There are legal advisory offices in every major Army HQ in the UK and in the British Army and NATO HQs around the world.

Advisory officers assist the chain of command with all legal aspects of their work. They also conduct training in military law and prepare military law publications to support the chain of command.

Service Prosecuting Authority

The Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) is a tri-service organisation that has its Headquarters and UK elements based at RAF Northolt in London and an office at Bielefeld in Germany. 27 of the 36 prosecution assignments are filled by ALS officers.

Officers of the SPA are responsible for the consideration of referred cases from the Chain of Command or Service Police and where appropriate the prosecution of those cases at Court Martial. Officers of the SPA also prosecute cases at Service Civilian Courts, act as respondent at the Summary Appeals Court and represent the Crown at the Court Martial Appeals Court.

Whilst Officers of the SPA mainly prosecute cases in the UK and Germany, opportunities exist to prosecute at Court Martials wherever Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are stationed.

The SPA has a structured training programme provided by experts in particular fields of legal work which allows Officers to expand on their existing professional knowledge and during their posting with the SPA undertake case work on more serious offences.

ALS officers of the SPA do not only deal with cases from the Army and they also will find themselves dealing with referred cases from both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Operational law

The Operational Law Branch (OLB) is responsible for training all units and individuals regarding operational law (both at home and on operations abroad) prior to all operational deployments and throughout their careers.

The OLB also assists with the development of future doctrine, and regularly supports training exercises in the field and in the classroom.

ALS on operations

OLB officers serve in assignments involving International Law, International Humanitarian Law, attached as staff officers within deploying headquarters formations (typically at Brigade level and higher). Exchange postings also exist in Australia and the USA. OLB officers also undertake duties in Intelligence related posts, and OLB officers regularly deploy to operational theaters such as Op HERRICK in Afghanistan.

Army commanders at every level have access to legal advice from ALS officers and demand for this support is increasing.


Army Legal Assistance (ALA)

Army Legal Assistance (ALA) is established to provide free legal support on personal issues to entitled Service personnel, accompanying dependants and UK Based Civilians who are serving outside Great Britain (personnel in Britain have access to civilian lawyers). ALA takes on about 950 cases annually, the majority being concerned with: Power of Attorney; Change of name; Certification of documents; Divorce; Child contact and maintenance; Breach of contract (especially for goods and services); Breach of copyright (especially downloading and file-sharing) and Personal Injury.

However, ALA is not permitted to assist Service personnel with matters involving service discipline, administrative action or service complaints.

Staffed by officers of the Army Legal Services and German Legal Assistants, ALA is based in Bielefeld, Germany. It holds regular legal clinics overseas in Afghanistan, Cyprus and Northern Ireland.

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