I would like to ask a question about the law of civilian court martials: under what circumstances and which present day military forces allow it?

So I was going to put this in history. But would law probably be more on topic? Or elsewhere? just trying not to repeat posting on the wrong forum which wastes mods time

ok I will explain; I had an aunt in the British army who drove an ambulance. She was classed as a civilian in the army. She was late to a wounded guy who died so she got a court martial.

  • 3
    Might be just me, but not sure what you mean by "civilian courts martial". AFAIK, someone is either charged under military law in a court martial, or under civilian law in an ordinary Court. A "civilian Court martial" sounds like a contradiction in terms.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 9:51
  • When was this? If during WWII (apologies if that's rude to your aunt or you!) women in the then services (WAAC, FANY etc) were not theoretically members of the armed forces - which, in itself, makes a court martial strange. But I suppose there is no civilian law against arriving too late to save a life! I suggest you ask the question on History, it touches on the historical role of women in the Services, and we do have some polymaths on there!
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 21:24
  • It was in the 1960's at a base. Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 23:53
  • In that case, I really don't understand it. If she was in the WRAC, AFAIK she would be regarded as military personnel and subject to Army discipline. If she was a civilian working with the Army, I doubt she could be court-martialled - they can't have it both ways! However, being 1960s, I suspect it would fit better in the Law:SE. Not suggesting 1960s aren't "history", but I don't think the status of female soldiers changed much since then, only their integration and combat roles.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 1:11
  • She decided to avoid the court martial by paying her way out and leaving the army. She was unhappy. She enjoyed the job. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 1:15
  • If she had to buy herself out, she could not have been a civilian. Civilians leave jobs; soldiers etc buy themselves out.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 1:22
  • Then I would be better off phrasing the question as military people who do non combat roles. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 1:29
  • Hmm... maybe, although I think even non-combatant roles - Royal Medical Corps, Army Chaplains etc - would still be subject to military discipline. Just give as much information as possible and see what gives. Good luck, it's interesting.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 5:59
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    Civilians who are subject to military discipline may be tried for certain acts (e.g. looting, but not e.g. desertion) in the Service Civilian Court, which seems to be what you're looking for here. However, your question as phrased would be too broad for H.SE.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


I think the question might be part of history, but phrased as something like "there are cases where civilians were trialed by martial court". You can make the question more specific if you add the period of time, country or war where that happened.

Now, I add an answer to your question: I found an article in spanish that covers changes proposed to military justice in Chile.

"Some 4.500 causes that affect civilians and that today are in the military justice would pass to the ordinary justice, according to the project that was approved yesterday by the Chamber of Deputies by 96 votes in favor and 1 abstention. The initiative delimits the scope of action of the military courts so that they reach only the uniformed, in addition to totally excluding minors, civilians or uniformed, from the jurisdiction of the military courts. The bill also establishes that, in the cases of co-authorship or co-participation in which civilians and uniformed persons appear involved, the former will be subject to the ordinary courts and the latter to the military."
In Chile, until that date (2010), terrorism or any crime against a militar, was covered by military justice.

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