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Involved in IHAT? Free initial legal advice available to BAFF members

Any full BAFF member approached by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), even if apparently as a potential witness, can now consult a solicitor absolutely free of charge. This is an extension of the 'pro bono' Court Martial representation scheme already available to BAFF members. UPDATE: After consultation with the legal firm concerned, this BAFF member offer also applies to inquiries arising from other operations, specifically those in Afghanistan.

BAFF has arranged this benefit in view of concern about current and former members of the armed forces - and even reportedly some of their family members - being approached about alleged events of a criminal nature in the course of operations in Iraq.

Some contributors to unofficial websites argued against any cooperation with such enquiries - in effect the "wall of silence" criticised by a judge in the Baha Mousa inquiry.

In real life, we understand that a blanket decision not to cooperate could in certain circumstances be unwise, as well as unprofessional. There are circumstances in which it may be in an individual's best interests to exercise a right of silence, but such decisions are best taken in full knowledge of their rights and duties in their particular circumstances.

BAFF has therefore arranged for any current full member who has been approached by IHAT, or by any similar enquiry relating to actual or alleged events in the course of recent overseas operations, to be able to consult a solicitor, experienced in court martial defence work, for free basic confidential legal advice about their situation. This benefit is available to any BAFF full member who has been approached by IHAT etc, or has a serious expectation of being approached.

We can't enter into correspondence with non-members about this. BAFF does not itself provide legal advice, and nothing on this website should be treated as legal advice.

Tags: Legal Service Discipline and Military Law IHAT, Northmoor and related inquiries BAFF membership

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The central question in the debate on military unions or associations is not what the body representing the interests of members of the armed forces is called but rather how to respect the rights of military personnel to the freedom of association and assembly while at the same time meeting the needs and legitimate concerns of the military, given its unique function.

Handboook on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Armed Forces Personnel, Chapter 9, Military Unions and Associations