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Judicial Review and You

Known as “Judicial Review,” federal courts are empowered with the authority to review decisions made by the military. Before seeking judicial review, the service member will generally have to exhaust all available “administrative remedies” – meaning that the service member generally will have to pursue all avenues of relief provided by the military before taking the matter to federal court; much in the same way that a chain of command works. The administrative remedies that must be exhausted are dependent upon the character of the case and determine the availability of judicial review.

For example, a service member who applies to the Board for the Correction of Military Records may ask for direct judicial review of the Board’s final decision. If the time limits concerned have not expired (usually six years from the “date of injury” or the date the service member leaves the military,) a federal court will review the Board’s decision and may award the member a favorable decision, including removal of adverse information, reinstatement, back-pay and allowances, voiding or correcting evaluation reports, and referral to a Special Selection Promotion Board for promotion consideration. The type of relief available to the service member is dependent upon the case’s circumstances as well as the relief requested.

There are other specific situations that allow a service member to seek judicial review of military decisions.

Such situations include (but are not limited to):

·         The denial of applications for discharge based on conscientious objection;

·         Unlawful discharge from or retention on active duty;

·         Breach of contract;

·         Involuntarily disenrollment from ROTC, West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the Naval Academy; and

·         Deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq.

It is nearly always better to go through military channels before going to federal court.  If you have questions about the process, contact attorney William Cassara at or (888) 288-3347 today. Although you won’t know until you call, enforcing your rights through judicial review may be your best and only remaining option.

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