The peculiarity of military criminal proceedings consisted in their approach and regulation
concerning formal defense. This approach had been equally peculiar, since in the inter-war
period, it was possible to notice a certain level of distrust towards defense lawyers from outside
the military circles, and preference for military personnel or lawyers who used to serve in the
Such approach was also based upon substantive reasons, since criminal cases presented in
courts-martial involved not only a degree of professionalism required of all lawyers, but also an
understanding of the military structure and relationships. The defense lawyer’s ability to understand
those matters benefitted not only the defendant, but also the military judicial service.
This, in turn, had constituted the foundation for the emergence of a small group of lawyers and
officers of the judicial service—separate from the defense lawyers appearing before the common
courts—who would participate in military court proceedings. This function was performed by
some of the most eminent defense lawyers of the inter-war period.
For the military judiciary, the function of the military defense lawyer constituted a convenient
form of practice for the future military judges and prosecutors, which manifested itself in
the practice of assigning assistants and legal interns the role of court-appointed attorneys.