Military Law in Australia
Alexandria, NSW: Federation Press and Softlaw Community Projects 2019
Paperback xxiv + 395pp RRP $130.00
Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, June 2020
This is a book written by legal practitioners for those who practise military law and for those subject to it. Most of the chapter authors are current or former military lawyers.
In bygone eras, it was anathema to go to war accompanied by a legal advisor. That situation has changed: one only needs to peruse the many hundreds of pieces of national and state legislation and international conventions to see the legal complexity of modern war. This volume is the first one to attempt to chart a legal path through this maze.
The introductory chapters of the book provide a rudimentary context of the history and structure of the Australian Defence Force. The larger sections deal with domestic military law, operations law and personnel law. Each chapter deals with a segment of the relevant law and the case law that has interpreted it. This leads to an entirely logical approach, but it is not one conducive to a browse by a non-professional reader.
There is no doubt that this pioneering work is comprehensive and therein lies its chief value. It will become the first port of call for defence legal officers, but I doubt that it will be as useful for non-qualified service members.
The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.