Court-Martial Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Court-Martial.

Court-Martial (noun): A military court that has the authority to prosecute members of the armed forces for violations of military law. The court-martial proceedings follow a formal process to identify the cause of the alleged crime and deliver a verdict.

Court-martials can be classified into three types:

  1. General Court-Martial: Conducted by the Judge Advocate and at least five military officers. This court handles major crimes with severe punishments, including a potential death penalty.

  2. Special Court-Martial: Conducted by at least three officers and handles cases that may result in penalties such as dismissal, prolonged detention, or assignment to arduous duties.

  3. Summary Court-Martial: Conducted by a single officer, generally for minor crimes.

Court-Martial can also be used as a verb, meaning to bring a military officer before a court-martial for alleged crimes or violations of military duties as set aside in the military law.