Legal Officers in the Australian Defence Force: Functions by Rank and Competency Level, Along with a Case-Study on Operations
Military Law and Law of War Review, Vol. 50, 2011
30 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 1, 2011
The article explains the competency framework used by the Australian Defence Force for its military lawyers. In a comprehensive table (the Output by Legal Officers table), the roles and responsibilities of the military lawyers are set out in a structured and easy to follow format. Particular focus is on what level of legal work is expected of a lawyer at any given level in the organization, the level of authority that lawyer can exercise with respect to legal matters, and the type of supervision required and able to be provided. The article provides a detailed explanation of the Output by Legal Officers table. As this table specifies what is expected of a military lawyer at any given level in the organization, it is the author’s contention that it should improve day-today tasking and management, provide a benchmark for assessment of performance, could be used to determine the appropriate legal positions in case of organizational changes and deployments on operations, and will be beneficial to structuring and developing appropriate education and training for military lawyers to assist lawyers in gaining the competency to be truly able to fulfill the functions and responsibilities associated with each competency level.
Using a recently published article that outlines the legal support provided to commanders during Australian military operations in the Middle East in 2002-03, a case-study is provided to further explain the competency framework and the related roles and responsibilities. Drawing on over 20 years of experience as a military lawyer, the author provides further examples and anecdotes as he provides comment on the competency framework, the associated roles and responsibilities, and the education and training regime used by the Australian Defence Force for its military lawyers.
Keywords: military, legal officer, competency, function, rank, operations
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation