Also, does anyone know the legal authority they are relying on to do this?
The HQAC press release says that "The Commissioning Act of 11th April 1862 was the last time a commission was created. All UK Armed Forces commissions appear to date back to that point. Source: DRFC"
If this is true then surely the creation of a commission type is no longer within the Royal Prerogative as Parliament have legislated on it?
But...according to legislation.gov.uk this legislation doesn't exist. There is the "Officers Commissions Act 1862" (11th April) but that doesn't create a new commission. It simply removes the requirement for her to attach her sign manual to a commission for it to be valid. But this only applies to "all or any of Her Majesty's naval, military or air forces." (section 1)
Even though this act does not create a new commission it is still a case of Parliament legislating on the requirements of a Queen's Commission and arguably therefore this change would require primary legislation.
I am concerned from a legal perspective whether MOD have the power to do this. I know from experience that this press release (or the submission to the minister that it was based on) will have been cleared by MOD Legal Advisors prior to issue. Not only do they get the name of the legislation wrong, but more worryingly they get the whole purpose wrong when they say it created a new commission. How can we trust the rest of their legal analysis now?
I certainly don't have the time or money to pursue it but I can honestly see someone (possibly one of those who make service complaints) deciding to judicially review the implementation of this new commission. That would be amusing if they got told they had no power to do it.
EDIT: I think the power probably does still test with the Crown in relation to armed forces commissions (which is all the government claim see page 32 at www.peerage.org/genealogy/royal-Prerogative.pdf) but the text of their own press release suggests parliament has taken it over.
According to the foi that's floating around they will be commissioned into the RAF Air Cadets which is not one of the armed forces (interestingly I'm not sure of the official legal status of the entity known as RAF Air Cadets. I always thought it was a umbrella term for two distinct organisations which share a command structure and resources) but it will be a military commission. Are we now saying therefore that the RAF Air Cadets are a formal branch of the RAF (I understand we are currently a sponsored organisation)? If so what will the status be of the cadets? So many questions and so few answers.