McKenzie Friends

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News - Law Society and Bar Council call for prohibition of paid 'McKenzie friends' and for a replacement term to avoid confusion for Litigants in Person.

Points made in response to a consultation on this topic include these:

See Family Law Week for more on this story.

What is a McKenzie Friend?

Someone who represents themselves in court is known as a Litigant in Person (LIP) and a LIP has the right to have a friend sit with them in court to take notes, whisper directions and pass relevant paperwork. These "friends" are called McKenzie Friends. The name originates from a divorce case in 1970.

Whilst McKenzie Friends are not normally allowed to directly address the court, under certain circumstances they can ask for Rights of Audience and if the judge agrees they can present your case on your behalf. This is helpful when domestic violence has taken place and cross-examination is required.

There is a detailed and authoratitive guide to this topic on the ICLR site by Sarah Phillimore and Paul Magrath here.

News 27th May 2016 - No case for a ban on paid McKenzie Friends

The case for a blanket ban on paid McKenzie friends has not been made, the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority have said, arguing that there is not enough evidence that fee-charging by McKenzie Friends is harming consumers. The judiciary consultation had warned that adding any extension to the rights of audience and litigation to McKenzie Friends could create a ‘new branch of the legal profession’. See The Law Society Gazette for more on this story.

Find a McKenzie Friend

  • McKenzie Friends is an organisation which will put you in touch with a McKenzie Friend in your area.

  • Allen Valler provides straightforward family law advice. He is based in a village near Guildford. He has three young children who live with their mother in London. He trained under a highly respected McKenzie Friend who is also a qualified solicitor and barrister. He offers an initial no-cost / no-obligation chat.

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