Priority in respect of naval personnel’s litigation
27. (1) On the presentation to any Court, by or on behalf of any officer or sailor, of a certificate, from the proper naval authority, of leave of absence having been granted to or applied for by him for the purpose of prosecuting or defending any suit or other proceeding in such Court, the Court shall, on the application of such person, arrange, so far as may be possible, for the hearing and final disposal of such suit or other proceeding within the period of the leave so granted or applied for.
(2) The certificate from the proper naval authority shall state the first and last day of the leave or intended leave, and set forth a description of the case with respect to which the leave was granted or applied for and shall be duly signed and authenticated by such authority.
(3) No fee shall be payable to the Court in respect of the presentation of any such certificate or of any application by or on behalf of any such person for priority for the hearing of his case, and every such certificate duly signed or authenticated as aforesaid shall be conclusive evidence of the correctness of the contents thereof.
(4) Where the Court is unable to arrange for the hearing and final disposal of the suit or other proceeding within the period of such leave or intended leave as aforesaid, it shall record its reasons for its inability to do so, and shall cause a copy thereof to be furnished to such person on his application without any payment whatever by him in respect either of the application for such copy or of the copy itself.
(5) Every criminal Court before which a case is pending against any officer or sailor shall, so far as may be possible, arrange for the early hearing and final disposal of such case.
(6) If in any case a question arises as to the proper naval authority qualified to grant such certificate as aforesaid, such question shall be at once referred by the Court to an officer, commanding a naval ship or establishment, or to a superior naval authority, whose decision shall be final.