United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Mar 25, 2023
Subject to the availability of legal staff resources, the Secretary concerned may provide legal assistance in connection with their personal civil legal affairs to the following persons:
Members of the armed forces who are on active duty.
Members and former members entitled to retired or retainer pay or equivalent pay.
Officers of the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service who are on active duty or entitled to retired or equivalent pay.
Members of reserve components not covered by paragraph (1) or (2) following release from active duty under a call or order to active duty for more than 30 days issued under a mobilization authority (as determined by the Secretary), for a period of time (prescribed by the Secretary) that begins on the date of the release and is not less than twice the length of the period served on active duty under that call or order to active duty.
Dependents of members and former members described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4).
Survivors of a deceased member or former member described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) who were dependents of the member or former member at the time of the death of the member or former member, except that the eligibility of such survivors shall be determined pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned.
Civilian employees of the Federal Government serving in locations where legal assistance from non-military legal assistance providers is not reasonably available, except that the eligibility of civilian employees shall be determined pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned.
Under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary concerned, the Judge Advocate General (as defined in section 801(1) of this title) under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, and within the Marine Corps the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, is responsible for the establishment and supervision of legal assistance programs under this section.
This section does not authorize legal counsel to be provided to represent a member or former member of the uniformed services described in subsection (a), or the dependent of such a member or former member, in a legal proceeding if the member or former member can afford legal fees for such representation without undue hardship.
Notwithstanding any law regarding the licensure of attorneys, a judge advocate or civilian attorney who is authorized to provide military legal assistance is authorized to provide that assistance in any jurisdiction, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary concerned.
Military legal assistance may be provided only by a judge advocate or a civilian attorney who is a member of the bar of a Federal court or of the highest court of a State and, for purposes of service as a Special Victims’ Counsel under section 1044e of this title, satisfies the additional qualifications and training requirements specified in subsection (d) of such section.
In this subsection, the term “military legal assistance” includes—
legal assistance provided under this section; and
legal assistance contemplated by sections 1044a, 1044b, 1044c, 1044d, 1044e, 1565b(a)(1)(A), and 2894(b)(4) of this title.
The Secretary concerned shall define “dependent” for the purposes of this section.
(Added Pub. L. 98–525, title VI, § 651(a),
Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2549; amended Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title V, § 583, Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2538; Pub. L. 106–398, § 1 [[div. A], title V, § 524(a), (b)], Oct. 30, 2000, 114 Stat. 1654, 1654A–108; Pub. L. 109–163, div. A, title V, § 555, Jan. 6, 2006, 119 Stat. 3265; Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title V, § 541, Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 114; Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title V, § 513, Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2282; Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title V, § 531(d)(2), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1726; Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title XVII, § 1716(a)(3)(A), (B), Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 969; Pub. L. 113–291, div. A, title X, § 1071(f)(12), Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 3510; Pub. L. 114–92, div. A, title V, § 535(c), Nov. 25, 2015, 129 Stat. 816; Pub. L. 116–92, div. B, title XXX, § 3022(b), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1934.)
cite as: 10 USC 1044