Lately, the handling of complaints involving sexual assault has been the focus of a great deal of media attention. This focus has not solely been on the Canadian Forces; however, the unique nature of disciplinary and administrative proceedings in the Canadian Forces – including how these two distinct, yet related, processes are handled – merits comment.
As a former legal officer with considerable experience in administrative law, I can offer a unique perspective on current Canadian Forces policy. The laudable goal of improving the means and mechanisms by which the Canadian Forces addresses sexual misconduct can be undermined by some of the rhetoric and ambiguous language used both to convey policy and to report on progress.
Over the next few weeks, I will present a 3-part blog series intended to introduce the firm’s Military Administrative Law practice. These articles are intended to introduce current issues in the area of military administrative law and to assist current and former members of the Canadian Forces (CF), and the broader military community, who may be considering retaining legal counsel for any complaint, dispute or other matter arising within the context of military service.
The first article, which can be found through this link, concerns potential pitfalls arising from the rhetoric surrounding the CF’s Operation HONOUR (Op HONOUR). This opinion article discusses the present policy of the CF and provides examples of the types of administrative decision-making that can significantly affect the rights, interests and privileges of members of the CF, and where they might benefit from the counsel of a well-informed and experienced legal advisor and advocate.
The second article in the series – to be posted on February 15th – will discuss, generally, the circumstances in which a CF member would benefit from the assistance of legal counsel, and how that lawyer might best serve the interests of the CF member. The third article will describe select pitfalls of which CF members should be aware in order to maximize the benefit of counsel without escalating the cost associated with such services.
If you are a current or former member of the CF, or a member of the extended military community, and you believe your rights, interests or privileges have been adversely affected by decision-makers in the Canadian Forces, these articles will be of interest to you. If you believe that you could be assisted by legal counsel in such matters, please contact me and we can discuss your concerns.