We have a proud history and connection with the military dating back a century, carrying out exceptional military legal services for the armed forces community and their families throughout the UK and overseas.
We understand that for you, it’s more than just a job – it’s a way of life. We respect the contribution you make and we’re here to support you because you’re there for us!
With a dedicated military sector, headed by partner, James Marsden, we have a genuine specialism in military law and we have the right credentials, experience and professional contacts to look after your unique requirements. Our team speaks your language.
Advising all-members of the Tri-Services, whether Regular or Reservist, we assist serving military personnel, veterans and their families in multiple aspects of military law.
From highly specialist areas such as military pensions, military injury, the forces Help to Buy scheme, employment law and courts martial, through to broader areas of family law, Wills, disputes, house sales and purchases.
We even involve our commercial team to work with veterans who are setting up new businesses.
We have extensive experience in dealing with all aspects of family law such as divorce, separation, children disputes, maintenance arrangements, finance and military pensions. With a full understanding of the implications of being deployed and what that means to the family unit, along with your obligations as a member of the military, our team is here to support you and will expertly help you navigate these distressing situations.
If you are facing the prospect of divorce, it is vital that you get legal representation from a solicitor with specialist and detailed military knowledge. We are fully versed in the complexities that arise as a result of the intricacies of the Armed Forces Pension Schemes, 1975, 2005 and 2015 and the Reserve Forces Pension Scheme 2005.
If you are injured during your military service, it is critical that you take independent legal advice to ensure that you maximise the compensation for which you may be entitled. In order to receive compensation for an injury you yourself have to take steps to apply for it.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is the preferred mechanism that you will be directed to by the Ministry of Defence if you suffer an injury during service. It is not necessarily the route to the most compensation to which you may be entitled.
This scheme does provide compensation to a certain level but if you have been injured due to defective equipment or a negligent act you may be entitled to a greater amount of compensation if you bring an action in the Civil Courts; within three years of the accident, against the Ministry of Defence with the help of an independent solicitor.
Weighing up the pros and cons of each of these possible routes to adequate compensation can be complicated.
If you suffer a very serious life changing injury, then it is likely that the Civil Courts would award you a great deal more damages than the amount you would be entitled to under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. It is therefore vital to take proper independent advice from an independent solicitor if this should ever unfortunately arise.
Even if your injuries are not so serious there can still be a quite large differential in monetary award between the two routes to compensation.
Accordingly If you have suffered an injury that has affected your service in any way you should immediately seek independent legal advice from an independent solicitor in order to ensure you receive proper compensation for the injury you have suffered
Our military lawyers have a great track record in securing compensation for injured soldiers. Claims cover both physical and mental injury, ranging from non-freezing cold injuries and noise-induced hearing loss, through to amputation, PTSD and road traffic accidents (both military and off service). If you're unsure of your eligibility to make an armed forces injury claim, please get in touch with our dedicated military lawyers.
Military employment law is complex and is distinctly different to civilian employment law. For example, all military personnel are subject to a standard 12 month notice period which is far greater than most civilian employment contracts provide for.
We have a renowned team, highly skilled in employment law unique to the armed forces, providing a full spectrum of advice for service personnel, including disciplinary/administrative action, service complaints, medical boarding and discharge matters, pay, ROIs and FOIs and bullying and harassment complaints.
In addition, our services don’t stop once you have left the forces and we can continue to work with you as you face your next challenge. So, once you’ve left the forces, you can still contact us for help and advice on employment issues in your new civilian career.
Did you know there's a Forces Help to Buy Scheme operated by the MOD which allows military personnel to borrow up to 50% of their annual salary, interest free, to a maximum of £25,000, to buy their first home or move to another property on assignment or as their family’s needs change?
The scheme, which was originally launched in April 2014 to replace the Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) scheme has now been extended to 31 December 2022, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the armed forces.
However, the process can be complex and it is essential that you instruct a solicitor who understands the process and is able to pre-empt any issues that may arise in order to make the process as smooth as possible.
Our firm is also recommended nationally for our extensive property services which include landlord & tenant and leasehold issues.
Our specialist conveyancing team works for generations of families. With years of experience in working for armed forces personnel, we understand the specific needs and the context, whether you are buying a home for you and your family while in service or as an investment.
A Will is arguably one of the most important documents that you will ever sign during your lifetime. In the UK, we are lucky enough to have the freedom to choose who receives our assets when we die, but we can only make this choice, by making a Will.
For many people though, making a Will does not reach top of the ‘to-do’ list until later in life. Nobody likes to imagine that they will die young and so it is easy to see why people feel that there is no rush to get a Will in place.
For those in the armed forces, the same attitude should not be shared. The unpredictable and high-risk nature of a military job role means that military personnel cannot afford to risk waiting until they retire before making a Will.
Without a Will, the state dictates what happens to your assets if you die and these rules will not always provide for your loved ones in the way you would have wanted. Having a valid Will should therefore help to provide peace of mind for those in the armed forces during periods of deployment in the event of a worst-case scenario situation.
MOD form 106 is available for those in the armed forces to make a military Will. However, the form is only designed to cover very basic circumstances and can have disastrous consequences if it is filled in incorrectly.
Given the importance of a Will, it is important to get it right and it is important you receive the relevant background advice to ensure that your Will suits your personal circumstances. We would therefore urge you to consult with us to help you get a Will in place.
In addition to Wills, we can also assist you with making Lasting Powers of Attorney. Lasting Powers of Attorney allow you to appoint somebody to make decisions about your property and finances or your health and welfare matters during your lifetime if you lack the capacity to make those decisions yourself. Again, having these in place can provide peace of mind in case you are ever a non-fatal accident or illness which leaves you unable to make your own decisions.
Our disputes team has a national reputation and has gained recognition for its work with military personnel. They assist and advise in relation to various issues, including non-payment of military pensions and professional negligence arising from advice given by the MOD.
If you are facing a courts martial, then you are subject to military law. It is separate to the civilian court system, however, you can choose any lawyer to represent you. We have a long history in acting in courts martial hearings all over the world and have been involved in introducing procedural reforms at the European Courts of Justice.
With a history dating back more than a century our forces connections are enviably strong.
In 1998 we merged with the Lincoln firm of Gilbert Blades, whose founder of the same name was famed for his court martial work and his role in introducing procedural reforms. The knowledge that came with that acquisition remains with the firm today, as does the proximity of our offices to important military bases in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire.
Our close military association extends to our solicitors, some of whom have direct experience of working in the armed forces. And through our support for reservists and veterans working at our firm, we have received a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award from the MOD, which is a huge honour for us.
Legal challenges are often quite different to those experienced by civilians, and we have honed our expertise to offer expert counsel and to help you navigate the complexities.
Julie Bailey, Partner at Wilkin Chapman regularly holds legal clinics at a regional military base and is a former member of the armed forces.
“At Wilkin Chapman, our military team has an extra layer of understanding. Some of us were in the RAF, some have families serving, and when you add to this the many years’ experience of working in the specialist area of law, you get a deep sense of how it functions and the practical applications as well as having genuine empathy with clients.”
Partner, Roly Freeman was a former RAF analyst before opting to take a law degree. He is now a partner in the firm's specialist agriculture team. This is what he had to say:
If you have legal issues while serving or need assistance with the passage into civilian life, we offer a discount to serving military personnel and members of the armed forces community, the latter by advertising though the Defence Discount Service.
Please contact us to find out more about the discounts available.
For further information call the freephone number on 0800 046 2576
Our military solicitors have partnered with Walking With The Wounded – a fantastic charity that collaborates with the NHS to support veterans who have found themselves physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged as a result of their service. We carry out regular fundraising initiatives amongst our staff and feel proud to contribute to the welfare of people who have served our country.
Submit an enquiry and one of our team of experts will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss your needs.
Or call the military law team on 0800 046 2576