Military Wiki
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 Law Society of England and Wales;
  • The Law Society of Scotland;
  • The Bar Council of England and Wales; and
  • The Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet.


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 current Director Legal Services is Air Vice Marshal L J Irvine and his deputy is Air Commodore S J Kell.

Start of appointment Director Deputy Director
July 2011 Air Vice Marshal Lindsay J Irvine MA(Oxon) MA(Lond) DipLaw RAF Air Commodore S J Kell RAF[2]
April 2009 Air Vice Marshal Lindsay J Irvine MA(Oxon) MA(Lond) DipLaw RAF[3] Air Commodore William H Boothby BA PhD RAF
Air Vice-Marshal Charles RAF Air Commodore Irvine J Irvine MA(Oxon) MA(Lond) DipLaw RAF


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.


External links

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