United Kingdom




Abolished in 1963. Conscription was legislated for via the National Service Act 1948 and preceding wartime legislation.

Conscientious objection:


The UK has a long tradition of recognising the right of individuals not to fight and, in 1916, due to the combined efforts of politicians and peace organisations, such as the Quakers, the Military Service Act (27th Jan 1916) saw the UK become the first country to give legal recognition to individual conscience, which was subsequently enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Act allowed for objectors to be absolutely exempted, to perform alternative civilian service, or to serve as a non-combatant in the army's Non-Combatant Corps, according to the extent to which they could convince a Military Service Tribunal of the quality of their objection.













No conscription

Voluntary enlistment:


Under 18: the minimum age for officer entrants into Service is 17 and for other ranks is 16. Parental consent must be obtained for those under the age of 18 before an application can proceed.

All members of the Armed Forces may apply to leave their Service on grounds of conscience.


https://ebco-beoc.org/united-kingdom including the reply of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to the Questionnaire about EBCO’s Annual Report 2022 (e-mail on 24/01/2023).