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New tri-service Armed Forces Act to be implemented in October 2009

The tri-service Armed Forces Act 2006 was due to be implemented in January 2009, but the implementation date has been put back to late October for the reasons explained in this note from the Ministry of Defence:

Armed Forces Act 2006

For the first time in more than fifty years the legislation which underpins Service discipline is being completely re-written. The Armed Forces Act 2006 will harmonise the arrangements for discipline across all three Services so that all personnel are subject to the same system wherever in the world they are serving. This will increase fairness and efficiency, particularly in joint units, and thus support operational effectiveness.

The Armed Forces Act 2006 received Royal Assent in November 2006. Since then work has been underway on implemention. Our original target was to complete this work in January 2009, but Ministers have now agreed to postpone the implementation date.

The key reason for postponement is that the transitional provisions, which will provide the essential bridge between the three current Service Discipline Acts and the 2006 Act, have proven to be much more complex than originally anticipated.

As a result, the work will take longer. The 2006 Act will now be implemented in October 2009. The Service Discipline Acts, which have provided the legal basis for discipline in the Armed Forces since the 1950s, will be repealed in due course.

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