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Defence Legal

Military Law Centre

Military Law Centre

Role

The Military Law Centre (MLC) was established by Defence Legal in January 2000 to take responsibility for the co-ordination, formulation and delivery of legal training for the professional development of legal officers in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The role of the MLC has since expanded to take into account the legal training needs of the broader ADF. The MLC also forms the ‘military node’ of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law.  The MLC is located at Victoria Barracks, Paddington in Sydney, Australia.

The mission of the MLC is to contribute to the success of the ADF through the provision of high quality military legal training. The vision of the MLC is to be known and recognised at home, in the region and by other military forces as a quality provider of professional, innovative and contemporary training to military legal practitioners, ADF members and support staff.

Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the MLC include to:

  • Develop and coordinate the delivery of various Legal Training Modules for the professional development of ADF legal officers
  • Develop and coordinate the delivery of pre-command legal training to Commanding Officer designates in all three Services of the ADF
  • Develop and coordinate delivery of certification for legal officers to provide sustained legal support on operations (Joint Operations Legal Training)
  • Manage ADF military justice training policy
  • Provide assistance in the development and delivery of military law training across the ADF 
  • Organise conferences and workshops on current legal issues.

Legal Training Modules (LTMs)

All ADF legal officers, which includes both permanent and reserve legal officers, are required to complete LTMs for career progression.

Legal Training Module 1. This is an introductory training course for all new ADF legal officers.  It provides an introduction to the core disciplines of Military Discipline Law, Military Administrative Law and Military Operations Law as well as a broader introduction to Defence Legal and the role of an ADF legal officer. The courses are conducted over a two week period, usually once a year, at the MLC, with accommodation provided at nearby Randwick Barracks or HMAS Kuttabul, Potts Point. Completion of LTM1 Consolidation Tasks is also required prior to being able to commence LTM2. More information on LTM1 Consolidation Tasks is found here:  LTM1 Consolidation Tasks Page.

Legal Training Module 2. Upon successful completion of the LTM1 course and LTM1 Consolidation Tasks, as well as successful progress to Legal Level 2, as outlined in the ADF Legal Officers’ Specialist Officer Career Structure (LOSOCS) Policy, legal officers are required to complete all LTM2 courses in order to be eligible to advance to Legal Level 3 and subsequently attempt relevant LTM3 courses.

LTM2 consists of four postgraduate subjects conducted annually in conjunction with the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Adelaide. Successful completion of the four subjects results in the award of a Graduate Certificate in Military Law by ANU.  All four LTM2 subjects are conducted as week long intensives at the ANU campus in Canberra (and possibly at the University of Adelaide campus in the future) followed by take-home assessments. Please note that take-home assessments can be issued by ANU, and be due for completion, up to six weeks after the end of the intensive component of the course. Therefore, please ensure that you have no conflicting work or personal commitments for up to six weeks after course completion, to ensure that you will be able to complete all relevant assessments.

Below are brief outlines of the content of the various LTM2 courses.

LTM2 Military Administrative Law

  • Understanding civil administrative law principles
  • Understanding the sources for and the framework of military administrative law within the ADF and how these relate to the civil administrative law framework
  • Understanding the impact of civil administrative law principles within the ADF including upon administrative sanctions, redresses of grievance and administrative inquiries
  • Understanding civil and military administrative law remedies
  • Capacity to critique civil and military administrative law principles and the institutions which apply civil and military administrative law.

LTM2 Military Discipline Law

  • The history and comparative development of the Australian military discipline system
  • The reforms to the military justice system, particularly those relating to developments since Lane v Morrison [2009] HCA 29
  • The jurisdictional aspects of the military discipline law system
  • The relationship between the Defence Force Discipline Force Act 1982 (Cth)(DFDA), Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT), and the definition and scope of Territory offences, general defences and other applicable federal law
  • The distinct phases of an investigation into an alleged disciplinary event, focusing on key concepts underlying arrest, search and seizure and interviewing, and the grounds for appeal
  • The role of prosecutorial discretion in relation to the choice of charges, the elements of offences, possible defences that could be raised, and the sufficiency of admissible evidence
  • Punishments available under the DFDA
  • Selected Jervis Bay Territory offences and Federal offences.

LTM2 Military Operations Law

  • The framework for the application of international law to military operations
  • The principles of international law applicable to the use of force by States
  • The international legal principles applicable to military operations
  • The framework of international humanitarian law as it applies to international and non-international armed conflict
  • The treaties, conventions and customary international law principles that apply to Australian military operations
  • relevant Australian law applicable to military support operations.

LTM2 Military Legal Practice

  • Develop relevant advocacy skills required of ADF legal officers in the above subject matters
  • Develop relevant briefing skills, both oral and written, required of ADF legal officers in the above subject matters
  • Develop the capacity of ADF legal officers to prepare and delivery legal training in a variety of contexts
  • Develop relevant skills for the supervision of a legal office in the ADF

Legal Training Module 3. All legal officers at Legal Level 3 are required to complete the following three core LTM subjects to be eligible to advance to Legal Level 4: advanced military administrative law, advanced discipline law and advanced military operations law. The core subjects are conducted once every two years in conjunction with ANU. They are conducted as week long intensives at the ANU campus in Canberra followed by take-home assessments. Please note that take-home assessments can be issued by ANU, and be due for completion, up to six weeks after the end of the intensive component of the course. Therefore, please ensure that you have no conflicting work or personal commitments for up to six weeks after course completion, to ensure that you will be able to complete all relevant assessments.

Successful completion of the above three core LTM3 subjects results in the award of a Graduate Diploma in Military Law by ANU. In addition to the core subjects, all permanent legal officers who do not have an existing Master of Laws qualification are required to also complete sufficient electives to meet ANU requirements for the award of a Master of Laws degree.  From 2014, there is a requirement to complete four elective subjects.  Legal officers authorised to complete a Master of Law degree will be able to undertake elective subjects at ANU or University of Adelaide which have been approved by the Career and Professional Development Committee (CPDC).
A list of approved electives can be found here: CPDC Approved Electives 2017

Please find below the dates for the various LTM courses.

LTM1 Course in 2017

Course

Course Dates

Closing Date for Nominations

Panel Published

LTM1

6 - 17 Mar 17

13 Jan 17

27 Jan 17

LTM2 Courses in 2017

Course

Course Dates

Closing Date for Nominations

Panel Published

LTM2 Military Operations Law

06 Mar - 10 Mar 17

6 Jan 17

27 Jan 17

LTM2 Military Administrative Law

05 Jun - 09 Jun 17

24 Mar 17

28 Apr 17

LTM2 Military Discipline Law

04 Sep - 08 Sep 17

23 Jun 17

28 Jul 17

LTM2 Military Legal Practice

04 Dec - 08 Dec 17

15 Sep 17

27 Oct 17

LTM3 Courses in 2017

Course

Course Dates

Closing Date for Nominations

Panel Published

LTM3 Advanced Military Operations Law

08 May - 12 May 17

17 Feb 17

31 Mar 17

LTM3 Advanced Military Discipline Law

07 Aug - 11 Aug 17

26 May 17

30 Jun 17

2017 Semester 1 Electives

 Various

4 weeks before
elective start date

3 weeks before
elective start date

2017 Semester 2 Electives

Various

4 weeks before
elective start date

3 weeks before elective start date

LTM3 Advanced Military Administrative Law

To be run in 2018

To be determined

To be determined


Enrolment in LTM courses.  To be eligible to enrol in any LTM course, a legal officer must be a member of the LOSOCS and be at the appropriate Legal Level, e.g., Legal Level 2 to enrol in LTM2 courses. More information on becoming part of the LOSOCS is available on the following site: http://www.defence.gov.au/Legal/CareerManagement/

To nominate for LTM1 course run by the MLC, please complete the MLC LTM1 Course Nomination Form.

To nominate for LTM2 and LTM3 courses run by the MLC MLC LTM 2 and LTM 3 Course Nomination Form and return it to the MLC. 

Please note that placement on courses is subject to the panelling criteria outlined in the LOSOCS Policy.

More information on the courses offered by University of Adelaide, and qualifications and courses offered by ANU, can be found here: University of Adelaide Law School and The Australian National University Law Faculty.

Legal Officer Training Handbook

All legal officers from Legal Levels 1 to 3, and their supervisors, should take the time to read the MLC Legal Officer Training Handbook, as it outlines military legal training available for legal officers in the ADF, including policy and administrative matters concerning such training.

MLC Legal Officer Training Handbook

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of prior learning is available for LTM2 and LTM3 core subjects. The following are the recognition principles used when evaluating an RPL application:

  • Authenticity: The applicant has actually demonstrated the course subject outcomes or equivalent that are being claimed
  • Currency: The learning or competency is still valid and performable
  • Quality: The learning claimed is at the required level
  • Relevance: The learning is applicable to the area claimed
  • Transferability: The learning can be applied in the context sought, if it was learned in a different context.
  • Comparability: The assessment mechanisms adopted are to be evidence-based and ensure that learning is comparable in content and standard with the learning for which RPL or credit transfer is sought. The standards applied are to be the same as those applied to assessments conducted in LTM training. 

To help applicants to clearly demonstrate that they have the required knowledge and skill, it is strongly recommended that they include an evidence matrix, similar to the attached file below.

RPL Evidence Matrix Example

The CPDC has received a number of RPL applications for LTM2 and LTM3 core subjects where the recommendation from the MLC has been to reject the application on the grounds of scope and/or relevance. When compared to successful applications, in general the unsuccessful RPL applications have either:

  • not addressed the military aspect of any LTM2 or LTM3 core subjects, or
  • failed to show sufficient similarity of topics.

Applications need to show that by study or experience the applicant has the full range of learning and skills detailed in the course outline of the LTM for which recognition is sought. It is unlikely that a normal university subject taken alone will meet the RPL requirements of an LTM2 subject. Most RPL applications will be significantly improved if the applicant includes details and statements from technical supervisors where they can demonstrate that they have performed the military aspect of the LTM2 subject for which they are requesting recognition. Details should include duration of performance of relevant experience, degree of supervision and growing autonomy, and complexity of tasks. For LTM3 core subjects, either a similar approach to the above mentioned LTM2 subjects would be more likely to be successful, or a combination of various university subjects might be required to provide the same breadth of learning.

Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law (APCML)

The mission of the collaborative Defence and University of Melbourne Law School Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law (APCML) is to promote greater understanding of, and increased respect for, the rule of law in all aspects of military affairs within the Australian Defence context and with military forces throughout the Asia Pacific Region.  The vision of the APCML is to lead the world in research, teaching and engagement on rule of law issues that affect Australian, regional and global military affairs.
The responsibilities of the APCML include:

  • Organising conferences, workshops, seminars and other activities
  • Promoting academic research into key issues, including international humanitarian law, law of peace operations, international criminal law, and arms control and disarmament
  • Producing legal publications and materials.

The homepage for APCML can be found at http://www.apcml.org/

Contact Details

Military Law Centre
Victoria Barracks, Building 113
Oxford Street
Paddington 2021
Phone: +61 2 8335 5627, +61 2 8335 5635, +61 2 8335 5633
Fax: +61 2 8335 5634
VTC ISDN: +61 2 6143 9231 

Email: MLC.admin@defence.gov.au