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Military Law: Getting Started

Search the Library Catalog

CLICsearch is the library catalog of six private colleges and universities in the Twin Cities, including Saint Thomas. Books from other campuses can be requested online and delivered to you at the Schoenecker Law Library.

Searching the CLIC catalog by the following subject keywords or subject headings will help you find relevant military law materials:

Military law.
Military law -- United States.
Military law -- United States -- History.
Military law -- United States -- Periodicals.
Military law -- United States -- Popular works.
Military offenses -- United States.

UST's Military Law Society

Find information and contacts for the University of St. Thomas School of Law's Military Society:

UCMJ History

The first five minutes of this video provide a history of the UCMJ, and the remaining 15 minutes provide an introduction to the process of the military justice system as well as an explanation of the major differences between civilian law and military law.

Military Law

This research guide offers a starting point for research topics within military law.  It includes print resources available at the University of St. Thomas Law School Library as well as electronic resources available on Westlaw, LexisNexis, HeinOnline, and the free Web.  The guide also describes how to find these resources and information on where they are located.



military justice. A structure of punitive measures designed to foster order, morale, and discipline within the military.

MILITARY JUSTICE, Black's Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009), military justice

military law. The branch of public law governing military discipline and other rules regarding service in the armed forces. • It is exercised both in peacetime and in war, is recognized by civil courts, and includes rules far broader than for the punishment of offenders. — Also termed military justice. — Sometimes loosely termed martial law. Cf. MARTIAL LAW.
“Military Law ... is largely, but not exclusively, statutory in character, and prescribes the rights of, and imposes duties and obligations upon, the several classes of persons composing its military establishment; it creates military tribunals, endows them with appropriate jurisdiction and regulates their procedure; it also defines military offenses and, by the imposition of adequate penalties, endeavors to prevent their occurrence.” George B. Davis, A Treatise on the Military Law of the United States 1 (3d ed. 1915).

MILITARY LAW, Black's Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009), military law

US Military Law Code

Two major authorities govern the U.S. military justice system, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).

The backbone of the military legal system is the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which applies to all branches.  The UCMJ applies to all active-duty, reserve & Guard, and retired military personnel.  Violation of any of the articles of the UCMJ can bring punishments ranging from loss of privileges to confinement and discharge.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice can be found in the United States Code Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47:

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) provides for three different types of courts-martial: summary, special, and general. These forms of courts-martial differ in their make-up and the punishments which may be imposed.  The Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) is the official guide to the conduct of Courts-martial in the United States military, which details and expands on the military law in the UCMJ.

The Manuals for Courts-Martial can be found online from the Library of Congress' Military Legal Resources.


The following sections of the United States Code address these specific areas of military law:


Subject Guide

Code, Publications, & Manuals