§ Mr. McNamara
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the rules governing the conduct of officers who take, or administer to other officers,(a) religious, (b) sectarian and (c) other oaths while serving in HM armed forces. 193W
§ Mr. Spellar
The regulations governing the conduct of officers who take, or administer oaths to other officers are as follows:
(a) ReligiousService Chaplains do not take an oath specifically for the Chaplain's Branch. No oath is taken if a Serviceman converts to a different religion while in service.(b) SectarianSectarian oaths form no part of Service life and would not be tolerated.(c) Other
Courts MartialMembers of a court-martial shall take an oath or affirm. In addition, evidence given by witnesses before a court martial shall be given after an oath of affirmation in accordance with the following regulations:
- (i)Naval Court Martial Rules—Section 60 of the Naval Discipline Act (NDA) 1957.
- (ii)Section 93 of the Army Act (AA) 1955.
- (iii)Section 93 of the Air Force Act (AFA) 1955.
Boards of Inquiry
- (i)Evidence on oath or affirmation—Naval Summary Discipline Regulations 1997, Regulation 12, written under sections 43, 52E and 52 of the NDA 57.
- (ii)This does not apply to officers in the Army.
- (iii)Under Rule 17 of The Investigation and Summary Dealing (RAF) Regulations 1997, evidence heard before a Commanding Officer is taken on oath.
- (i)No oath is taken by members of the RN or RM when subject to the NDA. However, an individual may be warned, and if thought to be lying, then this would constitute an offence under the NDA 57.
- (ii) Under Section 135 of the AA 55, the Board of Inquiry (Army) Rules 1956, evidence before a Board of Inquiry is taken on oath.
- (iii) Under Section 135 of the AFA 55 and the Board of Inquiry Rules, evidence before a Board of Inquiry is taken on oath.
- (i)In the case of RN officers and RM officers when subject to the NDA, the Book of Regulations 11, App 3—Emergency Laws (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953 "An Act to empower certain persons subject to the Naval Discipline Act to take affidavits and declarations outside the UK" covers affidavits taken outside of the UK.
- (ii)Under Section 204 of the AA 55, when serving overseas, officers above the rank of Major and Army Legal Services officers above Captain, may take affidavits and declarations.
- (iii) Under Section 204 of the AFA 55, when serving overseas, officers above certain rank, and officers in the Legal Branch of the RAF May take affidavits and declarations.
- (i)Officers in the RN or RM when subject to the NDA do not swear an oath.
- (ii)Entrants to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) who are enlisted as officer cadets, are attested into the Army in the same way as soldiers and use the same oath. The procedures for this are included in the AA 55 (Part 1)(Regular Army) Regulations 1992.
- (iii) Non-graduate officer entrants to Initial Officer Training are enlisted as officer cadets and are attested into the RAF in the same way as airmen, and use the same oath, under Section 2 of the AFA 55. Graduate officer entrants are invited to make a voluntary oath of allegiance in the same form as the oath of attestation.