Studying law in the RN

I have no degrees in law also no experience in this certain field, but I have been interested in law since I started school but didn’t get the grades applicable to study the subject in college, I was wondering if I could study law and get degrees whilst in the RN also maybe become a lawyer in the RN?
Thanks Stephen


War Hero
Thanks for the shake, @Sumo. Most Naval Barristers start off as officers in the White Mafia or Logistics Branch. When they reach the rank of Lieutenant, If they have a law degree of at least 2:2 honours, they can be selected to train to be Naval Barristers and will be sent to an appropriate place to take the Bar Vocational Course, which takes a year. They will then be called to the Bar, after which they undertake pupillage for 12 months, 6 of which will be in chambers with broad areas of specialisation, including criminal law. As for the other 6, most will go to chambers where members practise in the Admiralty Court as the law relating to shipping is very different, both in substance and procedure, from the rest of the law in England and Wales. On successful completion of pupillage, expect to be appointed to a legal billet where you are under the supervision of a more senior lawyer who will be teaching you how to use your skills in the naval context. For example, at sea you could be advising your Captain on the legality of some orders he is proposing to give one minute, then explaining the consequences of divorce to L/S Juggins 10 minutes later.

@Stephenfeno1999, you say you would like to join and study for your degree in the RN. I infer that you envisage joining as a rating and proceeding from there. It will be difficult. It almost goes without saying that you would have to join the logistics branch. I am completely out of date with the recruiting process, timeline and part 2 training, so can’t comment on that. However, once you have completed Part 2 and are part of the trained strength, you will face a real struggle to study in your spare time. Studying law is hard, both because there is an awful lot to learn, but also because the way lawyers think (which is what you really have to get used to) is far more granular than how most other people think. You don’t have to study law as a degree subject, you could study something else and then do a Post-Graduate diploma in law. However, to have any chance of qualifying as a barrister, you need to maintain a very high standard of work. I have already remarked that you MUST obtain a minimum of 2:2 honours in your degree course, but you should aim higher.

You would also have to demonstrate the kinds of qualities that the Navy looks for in its officers, including being well above average in your naval duties and actively chasing opportunities of showing your fitness for advancement. You would then have to pass AIB.

I’m not trying to put you off, service in the Royal Navy is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do with their life, but I am telling you that going from AB2 Logistician to Naval Barrister is both a hard road to walk and a long one.

Just so you know, I am a practising barrister, and have been one for 37 years. I served as an active Naval Reservist alongside my legal career for 20 years and although the two occasionally overlapped, most of my naval service was spent doing something different. I have effectively been on the outside for 23 years now, but would go back in in a flash if I could still meet the medical standards (highly unlikely at my age)!


War Hero
@huwshpis you had to be called to the Bar, were you adrift? :);)
No, my alibi is that I was in the company of two Naval Barristers, one of whom became command lawyer in Portsmouth later on. I remember dealing with two of his cases in the Courts Martial Appeals Court, he'd got the law a bit wrong when sitting as Judge Advocate.

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