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ARMY ACT 1955

UK Public General Acts

Version 28/02/2007

1955 CHAPTER 18 3 and 4 Eliz 2

Default Geographical Extent: E+W+S+N.I.


  • Part I. Enlistment and Terms of Service
    • Enlistment
    • Appointment to corps and transfer from one corps to another
    • Extension of service
    • Discharge and transfer to reserve
    • Miscellaneous and supplementary provisions
  • Part II. Discipline and Trial and Punishment of Military Offences
    • Misconduct in action and other offences arising out of military service
    • Mutiny and insubordination
    • Desertion, absence without leave, etc.
    • Malingering and drunkenness
    • Disorderly conduct
    • Offences relating to property
    • Offences relating to billeting and requisitioning of vehicles
    • Flying etc. offences
    • Offences relating to, and by, persons in custody
    • Offences in relation to courts-martial and civil authorities
    • Miscellaneous offences
    • Civil offences
    • Punishments available to courts-martial
    • Arrest
    • Custody
    • Investigation of, and summary dealing with, charges
    • The summary appeal court
    • The prosecuting authority
    • Courts-martial: general provisions
    • Courts-martial: provisions relating to trial
    • O ffences: procedure
    • Field General Courts-Martial
    • Confirmation, revision and review of proceedings of courts-martial
    • Review of proceedings of courts-martial]
    • Review of summary findings and awards
    • Findings of unfitness to stand trial and insanity
    • Saving for functions of Judge Advocate General
    • Commencement, suspension and duration of sentences
    • Execution of sentences of death, imprisonment and detention
    • Trial of persons ceasing to be subject to military law and time limits for trials
    • Inquiries
    • Miscellaneous provisions
    • Interpretation
  • Part III. Forfeitures and Deductions and Enforcement of Maintenance Liabilities
  • Part IV. Billeting and Requisitioning of Vehicles
    • Billeting
    • Requisitioning of vehicles
    • General
  • Part V. General Provisions
    • Powers of command
    • Attachment to naval or air forces
    • Redress of complaints
    • Exemptions for members of regular forces
    • Provisions relating to deserters and absentees without leave
    • Further powers of arrest of civil authorities
    • Offences relating to military matters punishable by civil courts
    • Provisions as to evidence
    • Miscellaneous Provisions
  • Part VI. Application of Act and Supplemental Provisions
    • Persons subject to military law
    • Application of Act to particular corps and forces
    • Application to different countries
    • Supplemental provisions
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  • Version as enacted

Introductory Text

Army Act 1955

1955 CHAPTER 18 3 and 4 Eliz 2

An Act to make provision with respect to the army.

[6th May 1955] F1

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F1 Act shall cease to have effect (1.4.1997 subject to art. 3 of the commencing S.I.) for certain provisions by virtue of 1996 c. 46, s. 15; S.I. 1997/304, arts. 2, 3, Sch. 2

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1 Act amended by Reserve Forces Act 1980 (c. 9), s. 117(3)(a) and amended (women's services) by Armed Forces Act 1981 (c. 55), Sch. 3 Pt. I para. 1; excluded by Reserve Forces Act 1980 (c. 9), s. 32(5); explained by Reserve Forces Act 1980 (c. 9), s. 142; restricted by Acts listed in Chronological Table of the Statutes, Belize Act 1981 (c. 52), Sch. 2 para. 1 and S.I. 1981/1105, Sch. para. 2(a)

Act amended (N.I.) (25.8.1996 temp. until 15.6.1997) by 1996 c. 22, ss. 54(7)(a), 62

Act amended (9.11.1998) by 1998 c. 42, s. 21(5) (with ss. 7(8), 22(5))

C2 Power to continue Act conferred by Armed Forces Act 1986 (c. 21, SIF 7:1), s. 1(2)

C3 Power to amend Act conferred by Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c. 33, SIF 39:1), s. 50(3)(a)(i)

C4 By Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c. 33, SIF 39:1), s. 123, Sch. 8 Pt. I paras. 1, 2 it is provided that in certain enactments including this Act for a reference to a detention centre or to a youth custody centre or to both there shall be substituted a reference to a young offender institution and for a reference (however expressed) to a detention centre order or to a sentence of youth custody or to both there shall be substituted a reference to a sentence of detention in a young offender institution.

C5 Act continued in force for twelve months beyond 31.8.1990 by S.I. 1990/1501, art. 1

C6 By Criminal Justice Act 1991 (c. 53, SIF 39:1), s. 101(1), Sch. 12 para.23; S.I. 1991/2208, art. 2(1), Sch.1 it is provided (14.10.1991) that in relation to any time before the commencement of s. 70 of that 1991 Act (which came into force on 1.10.1992 by S.I. 1992/333, art. 2(2), Sch. 2) references in any enactment amended by that 1991 Act, to youth courts shall be construed as references to juvenile courts.

C7 Act continued in force until 31.12.1991 by S.I. 1991/1696, art. 1

C8 Act continued in force until 31.8.1992 by Armed Forces Act 1991 (c. 62, SIF 7:1), s. 1(1)

Power to continue Act conferred by Armed Forces Act 1991 (c. 62, SIF 7:1), s. 1(2)-(4)

Power to continue Act conferred (24.7.1996) by 1996 c. 46, s. 1(2) (subject to art. 1(3))

C9 Act applied (1.6.1996) by Armed Forces Act 1991 (c. 62, SIF 7:1), ss. 18(8), 20(9); S.I. 1996/1173, art. 2

C10 Act extended (1.4.1997 subject to art. 2(2) of the amending S.I.) by 1996 c. 14, s. 103 (with s. 72(5)); S.I. 1997/305, art. 2

C11 Act continued in force until 31.8.1993 by S.I. 1992/1712, art. 1

Act continued in force until 31.8.1996 by S.I. 1995/1964, art. 1

Act continued in force for twelve months beyond 31.8.1993 by 1993/1804, art. 1

Act continued in force for twelve months beyond 31.8.1994 by virtue of S.I. 1994/1903, art. 1

Act continued in force for twelve months beginning on the date immediately following 31.8.1995 by virtue of S.I. 1995/1964, art. 1

Act shall expire on 31.8.1997 (instead of expiring on 31.8.1996) unless continued in force in accordance with s. 1(1) of the amending Act by virtue of 1996 c. 46, s. 1(1)

Act continued in force for twelve months immediately following 31.8.1997 by virtue of S.I. 1997/1745, art. 2

Act continued in force for twelve months beyond 31.8.1998 by S.I. 1998/1499, art. 2

Act continued in force for a period of twelve months beginning on the day immediately following 31.8.1999 by S.I. 1999/1734, art. 2

Act continued in force for a period of twelve months beginning on the day immediately following 31.8.2000 by S.I. 2000/1814, art. 2

C12 Act: expiry date and power to continue conferred (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 19, s. 1(1)-(3)

C13 Act: continued (16.7.2002 until 21.8.2003) by virtue of S.I. 2002/1820, art. 2

C14 Act continued for 12 months (1.9.2003) by Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts (Continuation) Order 2003 (S.I. 2003/1869), art. 2

C15 Act continued for 12 months (1.9.2004) by Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts (Continuation) Order 2004 (S.I. 2004/1496), art. 2

C16 Act continued for 12 months (1.9.2005) by Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts (Continuation) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/2021), art. 2


Part I
Enlistment and Terms of Service



Enlistment


1 Recruiting officers.

The following persons may enlist recruits in the regular forces and are in this Act referred to asrecruiting officers, that is to say,—

(a) whether within or without Her Majesty’s dominions, any officer authorised under regulations of [F2 the Defence Council] ,
(b) in a colony, any person authorised by the Governor of the colony,
(c) outside Her Majesty’s dominions, any British consul-general, consul or vice-consul, and any person dulyexercising the authority of a British consul.
Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F2 Words substituted by S.I. 1964/488, Sch. 1 Pt. I


2 Enlistment.

(1) A person offering to enlist in the regular forces shall be given a notice in the prescribed form settingout the questions to be answered on attestation and stating the general conditions of the engagement to beentered into by him; and a recruiting officer shall not enlist any person in the regular forces unlesssatisfied by that person that he has been given such a notice, understands it and wishes to be enlisted.

(2) The procedure for enlisting a person in the regular forces shall be that set out in the First Scheduleto this Act.

(3) A recruiting officer shall not enlist a person under the [F3 appropriate minimum age] unless consent to the enlistment has been given in writing—

(a) if the person offering to enlist is living with both or one of his parents, by the parents or parent;
(b) if he is not living with both or one of his parents, but any person (whether a parent or not) whosewhereabouts are known or can after reasonable enquiry be ascertained has parental rights and powers inrespect of him, by that person;
(c) if there is no such person as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of this subsection or if after reasonableenquiry it cannot be ascertained whether there is any such person, by any person in whose care (whether inlaw or in fact) the person offering to enlist may be.
(4) Where the recruiting officer is satisfied, by the production of a certified copy of an entry in theregister of births or by any other evidence appearing to him to be sufficient, that a person offering toenlist has or has not attained the [F3 appropriate minimum age] , that person shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to have attained, or as the case may be,not to have attained, that age.

A document purporting to be a certificate signed by the recruiting officer, stating that he is satisfiedas aforesaid, shall be sufficient evidence, until the contrary is proved, that he is so satisfied.
[F4 (5) In this Part of this Act the expression “appropriate minimum age” means the age of eighteen or, in a case falling within any classfor which a lower age is for the time being prescribed, that lower age.]

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F3 Words substituted by Armed Forces Act 1966 (c. 45), Sch. 4

F4 S. 2(5) substituted by Armed Forces Act 1971 (c. 33), s. 63(1)


Appointment to corps and transfer from one corps to another


3 Enlistment for general or corps service and appointment to and transfer between corps.

(1) Recruits may, in pursuance of regulations of [F5 the Defence Council] under this Part of this Act, be enlisted for service in particular corps, but save as may be providedby such regulations recruits shall be enlisted for general service.

(2) The competent military authority shall as soon as practicable appoint a recruit, if enlisted for servicein a corps, to that corps, andif enlisted for general service, to such corps as the competent militaryauthority may think fit:

Provided that a recruit enlisted for general service before attaining the age of eighteen years neednot be appointed to a corps until he attains that age.
(3) A soldier of the regular forces may at any time be transferred by order of the competent militaryauthority from one corps to another:

Provided that except while a state of war exists between Her Majesty and any foreign power, or [F6 a call-out order under section 52 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 is in force authorising the call out for permanent service of members of the reserve] , an order under this subsection shall not be madeotherwise than by [F5 a member of the Army Board] unless the person to whom the order relates consents to the transfer.
(4) Where, in pursuance of the last foregoing subsection, a soldier of the regular forces is transferredto a corps in an arm or branch of the service different from that in which he was previously serving, thecompetent military authority may by order vary the conditions of his service so as to correspond with thegeneral conditions of service in the arm or branch to which he is transferred.

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F5 Words substituted by S.I. 1964/488, Sch. 1 Pt. I

F6 Words in s. 3(3) substituted (1.1.1999) by S.I. 1998/3086, reg. 9(2) (with reg. 11, Sch.)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C17 S. 3(3) extended by Reserve Forces Act 1980 (c. 9), s. 18(2)


4—7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F7

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F7 Ss. 4–8 repealed with saving by S.I. 1967/1018, Sch. 3 Pt. I


Extension of service


8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F8

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F8 Ss. 4–8 repealed with saving by S.I. 1967/1018, Sch. 3 Pt. I


9 Postponement in certain cases of discharge or transfer to the reserve.

[F9 (1) This section applies to a soldier of the regular forces if, on the relevant date, a call-out order under section 52, 54 or 56 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 is in force authorising the call out for permanent service of members of the reserve.

For the purposes of this section, “the relevant date”, in relation to a soldier, means the date on which he would, apart from this section, fall to be transferred to the reserve or he would be entitled to be discharged, as the case may be.
(1A) A soldier to whom this section applies may be retained in army service after the relevant date in accordance with this section for such period as the competent military authority may order, and his service may be prolonged accordingly.

(1B) The period for which a soldier may be retained in service after the relevant date by virtue of this section shall be limited as follows, that is to say—

(a) a soldier who would otherwise have fallen to be transferred to the reserve may not be retained for longer than the period for which, if the assumptions mentioned in subsection (1C) below are made in relation to him, he could have been required to serve on being called out under Part VI of the Reserve Forces Act 1996; or
(b) a soldier who would otherwise have been discharged may not be retained for longer than twelve months;
and a soldier who is retained in service is (if not transferred or discharged sooner) entitled to be transferred to the reserve or discharged, as the case may require, at the end of whichever of the above periods applies to him.
(1C) The assumptions to be made in relation to a soldier for the purposes of subsection (1B) (a) above are that—

(a) he was transferred to the reserve in time to be called out for permanent service starting on the relevant date; and
(b) he was so called out on the authority of the call-out order which justified his retention in service.]
(5) If while a soldier is being retained in army service by virtue of this section it appears to thecompetent military authority that his services can be dispensed with, he shall be entitled to be dischargedor transferred to the reserve as the case may require.

(6) Where, at the time at which under the foregoing provisions of this section a soldier is entitled to bedischarged or transferred to the reserve, a state of war exists between Her Majesty and any foreign power,he may, by declaration made in the prescribed form before his commanding officer, agree to continue in armyservice while such a state of war exists; and if the competent military authority approve he may continueaccordingly as if the period for which his term of service could be prolonged under the foregoing provisionsof this section were a period continuing so long as a state of war exists:

[F10 (6A) Where a soldier is retained in service by virtue of this section but would otherwise have fallen to be transferred to the reserve—

(a) any period for which he is liable to serve in the reserve after the completion of his army service shall be reduced by the period for which he is so retained; and
(b) the period for which he is so retained shall be treated as a period of relevant service for the purposes of any provision of Part IV, V, VI or VII of the Reserve Forces Act 1996.]
Provided that if it is so specified in the declaration he shall be entitled to be discharged ortransferred to the reserve, as the case may require, at the expiration of three months’ notice given by himto his commanding officer.
(7) In relation to soldiers serving outside the United Kingdom, references in this section to being entitledto be transferred to the reserve shall be construed as references to being entitled to be sent to the UnitedKingdom with all convenient speed for the purpose of being transferred to the reserve.

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F9 S. 9(1)-(1C) substituted (1.4.1997) for S. 9(1)-(4) by 1996 c. 14, s. 126, Sch. 7 para. 1(1)(2) (with s. 72(5), Sch. 7 para. 2); S.I. 1997/305, art. 2(1)

F10 S. 9(6A) inserted (1.4.1997) by 1996 c. 14, s. 126, Sch. 7 para. 1(1)(3) (with s. 72(5), Sch. 7 para. 2); S.I. 1997/305, art. 2(1)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C18 S. 9 extended by Reserve Forces Act 1980 (c. 9), s. 19(3); modified Reserve Foces Act 1980 (c. 9), s. 83(1)(a)(3)

C19 S. 9 modified (1.1.1999) by S.I. 1998/3086, reg. 11, Sch. para. 1


[F11 10

(1) If it appears to Her Majesty that national danger is imminent or that a great emergency has arisen, Shemay by order, signified under the hand of the Secretary of State, provide that soldiers who would otherwisefall to be transferred to the reserve shall continue in army service; and thereupon the last foregoingsection shall apply to such soldiers as it applies while [F12 a call-out order under section 52 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 authorising the call out of members of the reserve is in force] .

(2) Where an order has been made under subsection (1) above, the occasion thereof shall forthwith becommunicated to Parliament.

(3) An order in force under subsection (1) above may be revoked by order of Her Majesty signified as thereinmentioned]

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F11 S. 10 substituted by Armed Forces Act 1966 (c. 45), s. 12(1)

F12 Words in s. 10(1) substituted (1.4.1997) by 1996 c. 14, s. 126, Sch. 7 para. 1(4) (with Sch. 7 para. 2); S.I. 1997/305, art. 2(1) (subject to art. 2(2))


Discharge and transfer to reserve


11 Discharge.

(1) Save as hereinafter provided every soldier of the regular forces, upon becoming entitled to bedischarged, shall be discharged with all convenient speed but until discharged shall remain subject tomilitary law.

(2) Where a soldier of the regular forces enlisted in the United Kingdom is, when entitled to be discharged,serving out of the United Kingdom, then—

(a) if he requires to be discharged in the United Kingdom, he shall be sent there free of cost with allconvenient speed and shall be discharged on his arrival there or, if he consents to his discharge beingdelayed, within six months from his arrival; but
(b) if at his request he is discharged at the place where he is serving he shall have no claim to be sentto the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
(3) Except in pursuance of the sentence of a court-martial (whether under this Act, [F13 the M1 Naval Discipline Act 1957] or the M2 Air Force Act 1955) , a soldier of the regular forces shall not bedischarged unless his discharge has been authorised by order of the competent military authority or byauthority direct from Her Majesty; and in any case the discharge of a soldier of the regular forces shallbe carried out in accordance with Queen’s Regulations.

(4) Every soldier of the regular forces shall on his discharge be given a certificate of dischargecontaining [F14 the following particulars, namely—

(a) his name, rank and service number;
(b) his reserve liability (if applicable) ; and
(c) the reason for his discharge and the date of discharge,
together with any other particulars which are required to be included in the certificate by directions of the Defence Council or an officer authorised by them.]
(5) A soldier of the regular forces who is discharged in the United Kingdom shall be entitled to be conveyedfree of cost from the place where he is discharged to the place stated in his attestation paper to be theplace where he was attested or to any place at which he intends to reside and to which he can be conveyedwith no greater cost.

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F13 Words substituted by virtue of Naval Discipline Act 1957 (c. 53), s. 137(2)

F14 Words in s. 11(4) and s. 11(4)(a)-(c) substituted for words (1.5.2001) by 1996 c. 46, s. 3(1); S.I. 2001/1519, art. 2

Marginal Citations

M1 1957 c. 53.

M2 1955 c. 19.


12 Transfer to the reserve.

(1) Every soldier of the regular forces upon falling to be transferred to the reserve shall be transferredto the reserve but until so transferred shall remain subject to military law.

(2) Where a soldier of the regular forces, when falling to be transferred to the reserve, is serving outof the United Kingdom, he shall be sent to the United Kingdom free of cost with all convenient speed andshall be transferred to the reserve on his arrival there, or if he consents to his transfer being delayed,within six months from his arrival:

Provided that if he so requests he may be transferred to the reserve without being required to returnto the United Kingdom.
(3) A soldier who is transferred to the reserve in the United Kingdom shall be entitled to be conveyed freeof cost from the place where he is transferred to the place stated in his attestation paper to be the placewhere he was attested or to any place at which he intends to reside and to which he can be conveyed withno greater cost:

Provided that he shall not be entitled to be conveyed to any place outside the United Kingdom.