RAF Legal Branch

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Royal Air Force Legal Branch
Founded 1 October 1948
Country United Kingdom
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Type Legal service
Headquarters RAF High Wycombe
Current Director Air Vice Marshal L J Irvine

The Royal Air Force Legal Branch (RAFLB) or Directorate Legal Services (DLS) - as it is better known - is the uniformed legal service provider for the Royal Air Force. It consists of solicitors and barristers qualified in a Commonwealth jurisdiction. DLS is headquartered at Air Command RAF High Wycombe. The Directorate is currently staffed by a mixture of members of:


The RAF Legal Branch was formed on 1 October 1948. Its predecessor was the Air Force Department of the Office of Judge Advocate General.[1]


It is open to men or women; those that have been recruited vary from NQ to 10 years PQE. DLS has around 50 legal officers. Around 30% of DLS officers are based in overseas billets. The type of work undertaken by legal officers depends on the billet they are working at. Around 50% of the billets are discipline / criminal law, 30% of the billets are operations law and 20% of the billets are administrative law. The RAF also provides 4 Legal Officers to the Service Prosecuting Authority.


The career structure of a legal officer within DLS is as follows. Commissioning on a short service commission as a Flight Lieutenant after a 3 month PQO course at RAF Cranwell. If the candidate is suitable then appointment to a permanent commission should follow and time served promotion should apply - i.e. Squadron Leader after four years and Wing Commander after a further six.

Directors of Legal Services (RAF)[edit]

The head of the RAF Legal Branch is titled the Director of Legal Services RAF. The current holder is Air Vice Marshal L J Irvine and his deputy is Air Commodore S J Kell.

  • Air Vice-Marshal Peter Furniss (December 1978 to April 1982)
  • Air Vice-Marshal G N Forman (1982 - 1989)
  • Air Vice-Marshal Reginald Thomas Dawson (1989 - 1992)
  • Air Vice-Marshal Geoffrey W Carleton (1993 - 1997)
  • Air Vice-Marshal John Weeden (1997 - 2002)
  • Air Vice-Marshal Richard Anthony Charles (2002 - 2009)
  • Air Vice Marshal Lindsay J Irvine (April 2009 to present)[2]

Deputy Directors[edit]

  • Air Commodore Lindsay Irvine (? to April 2009)
  • Air Commodore William H Boothby (April 2009 to July 2011)[2]
  • Air Commodore S J Kell (July 2011 to present)[3]


  1. ^ a b "AIR RANK APPOINTMENTS LIST 09/08". raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  2. ^ "Air Rank Appointments List 01/11". raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 09-02-2011. 

External links[edit]