Law Soc backs army rights of audience

IN-HOUSE army lawyer Lt Col Stephen Vowles has been successful in his bid for rights of audience.

The Law Society has given the army officer a block exemption from the society's training programme and exam on the strength of his considerable court martial experience.

Vowles, who last year prosecuted a murder case in Germany, is now hoping that other officers will be encouraged to put their names forward.

As employed lawyers they will still be barred from exercising their rights before the higher courts but the qualification would become relevant on return to civilian life.

The society's decision was announced at a recent conference for army lawyers at which Vowles encouraged officers to submit their own applications.

“It's very significant…for army legal services as a whole. I'm hoping others will follow suit,” he says.

The army's in-house team comprises more than 50 lawyers with equal numbers of barristers and solicitors.