We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Judge Advocate General?

Jessica Ellis
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Many countries have a legal branch of their military to serve as counselors and conduct military trials. A judge advocate general, or JAG, is a lawyer or judge employed by a military organization. Typically a trained officer, a judge advocate general may serve in a variety of capacities under orders from the military.

The concept of a legally-minded military branch is quite an old one; the United Kingdom has had a JAG branch since the mid-17th century. Although originally the judge advocate general was mainly concerned with internal matters within the military, the rise of international law and treaties has expanded the role of a judge advocate general considerably. Other countries that feature a similar branch include the United States, Canada, Israel, India, and Denmark.

Although requirements vary between military branches, most JAGs must be qualified lawyers who have graduated from law school and passed required legal exams, such as the bar. They typically receive basic military training and attend officer training courses. This course of study can be quite rigorous and requires both physical and mental fitness in order to pass. Once qualified, a judge advocate general can be appointed to many different positions around the world.

Some JAGs serve primarily as military advisors. Some of the areas they are involved in include crafting international military treaties and law, examining and providing guidance regarding rules of engagement, and cooperating with government officials on a variety of subjects. With deep understanding of both military and civilian law, these professionals are typically experts on difficult cases that involve both jurisdictions.

A judge advocate general can provide legal services, advice, and help to members of the military and their families. In the case of a military trial, members of the JAG corps are appointed as attorneys for both prosecution and defense, while a highly experienced and senior member serves as the judge. Rather than choose their clients, like civilian lawyers, judge advocate general lawyers are assigned work. Regardless of their own feelings on the case, a JAG must serve as the military orders to ensure proper procedure and a fair trial.

Most judge advocate generals serve a period of active duty that varies depending on which military employs them. In the United States, most JAGs agree to serve four years of active duty, with options to extend that employment longer. Many JAGs remain in the position for their entire career, working up through the ranks of qualified officers to achieve positions of high responsibility and prestige within the organization.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.