Lord Chancellor's Department: Judge Advocate General: Case Index Database
The Case Index datasets are all derived from a Dataease database used in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Forces (JAG). The JAG case index system contains details of courts martial involving Army, Royal Marines and RAF personnel and Standing Civilian Courts; it contains details of the offender, the charge, the Judge Advocate presiding at the hearing and the result of the hearing. The data contains index details of courts martial and standing civilian court cases heard in the UK and abroad 1991-2004. The system was established in 1992 but contains data from 1991 onwards, it was substantially redeveloped and expanded in 1995 and this is reflected in the arrangement of the datasets. The first dataset covering 1991-1995 reflects the Dataease database as originally designed in 1992, the subsequent two datasets reflect the reworked and expanded system developed in 1995.
At the time the third dataset was originally transferred to the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) in March 2004 the Dataease system had been superseded by a simplified case index system developed using Microsoft Access. The third dataset in the series was therefore transferred as a final state snapshot of the JAG Dataease database.
The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.
Hardware: Networked PCs in the JAG's office.
Operating System: Microsoft DOS version 6.22, Microsoft Windows for Workgroups version 3.11 and Microsoft Windows 98.
Application Software: Dataease version 4.53 for DOS.
User Interface: The system can be used to generate a variety of statistical reports sorting on the basis of the service, rank and sex of offenders, the location of the hearing (UK or overseas) and the court martial type (GCM, DCM or SCC). A summary of the type of statistical reports generated in the post 1995 system can be found in the user manual, a copy of which can be found attached to the dataset catalogue.
Logical structure and schema: The JAG case index system consists of 3 datasets covering 1991-1995, 1995-1999 and 2000-2004. The first dataset differs in some ways from the second and third as the system was modified and expanded during 1995. Both versions of the database, however, contain several tables linked by fields containing a unique case number which hold the data plus various lookup tables. The main tables contain information about defendants, a record of the charges brought against defendants and general information about each case including the finding and sentence of the court martial. The system records details of cases in progress which are referred to as Judge Advocate Cases and completed cases which are referred to as Register Cases.
How data was originally captured and validated: Data was entered in to the database via on screen forms.
Validation performed after transfer: Details of the content and transformation validation checks performed by NDAD on each dataset are recorded in the catalogues of individual datasets.
These datasets are derived from a database containing information on the courts martial of armed forces personnel, maintained by the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Forces. A court martial is a court convened to try armed forces personnel who have committed military or criminal offences. In the UK criminal offences committed by soldiers or airmen will normally be tried by local civilian courts, although the Army or RAF may be granted jurisdiction in which case they will be tried by court martial. Service personnel who have committed offences under military law will always be tried by court martial. Outside the UK the jurisdiction of courts martial is based on agreements such as NATO's Status of Forces Agreement which gives rights to countries sending forces to serve in other countries to exercise jurisdiction over its soldiers who commit offences.
There are two major types of court martial dealt with by the JAG case index system:
- General Court Martial (GCM) - deals with commissioned officers, warrant officers and the most serious cases involving other ranks. A GCM is heard by a court martial comprising at least five officers, one of whom is nominated as the president of the court and a judge advocate. The president of the court will normally hold field officer rank and at least four members of the court will be of a rank not below that of captain (or flight lieutenant in the case of the RAF). Its maximum powers of punishment are whatever is prescribed by law for the offence(s) of which the accused is convicted.
- District Court Martial (DCM) - A DCM is more limited in its jurisdiction, a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment can be imposed by the court. Officers cannot be tried by a DCM. The membership of a DCM comprises at least three officers, one of whom is nominated as the president of the court and a judge advocate.
In addition the Judge Advocate General's office deals with cases heard by the Standing Civilian Court. This court was created by the Armed Forces Act 1976 and has a jurisdiction over service dependants and UK based civilians working for the Ministry of Defence who are within the limits of the command of an officer commanding a body of the regular forces outside the United Kingdom. The court is presided over by a magistrate who is a senior judge-advocate. He usually sits alone although, when hearing cases involving juveniles, he will sit with assessors, who are usually Crown Servants. The proceedings are less formal than those of a court-martial, although the powers of sentencing are wider (albeit limited to a maximum of 12 months imprisonment). Cases which involve serious allegations will not normally be tried by the SCC. They will go to court-martial, where the range of sentencing options is extended, in the case of civilians, by the APOTOC Regulations (Additional Powers on Trial of Civilians by SCC and Court-Martial).
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