McKenzie Friends- Beware and be careful who you choose!


The increase in Litigants in Person coming before the  Family Court has increased as a result of the limited circumstances that Legal Aid is available in family proceedings.  A decision not to take a solicitor or barrister to a Family Court hearing may not be financially motivated, in some circumstances you may prefer to go to Court without legal representation. You may prefer to speak directly to the Judge yourself and conduct the proceedings without the benefit of a legal team.

 

The Court however recognises that you may wish to have someone with you to support you during Court hearings. Someone to take a note of what is being said and someone to reassure you and quietly advise you during the hearing. In recognition of this, the Court will usually approve the use of what is called a McKenzie Friend. The name comes from a case in which such as person was used and thereafter the Court agreed that McKenzie Friends should be permitted in Family Court proceedings.

The role of a McKenzie friend is not to conduct negations on your behalf or make representations to the Court ( although you can apply to the Court for permission for your McKenzie Friend to speak on your behalf in some circumstances)

A  McKenzie Friend should support you and help you to remain calm and focused within proceedings and during your discussions with the other side.

Some Mckenzie Friends have no experience in dealing with family law matters and so often hinder the process by raising the heat in cases due to the fact that they do not understand the process having had no formal training in family law.

Your McKenzie Friend is not there  to advise you on technical legal issues and should never been seen as a substitute for proper legal advice.

If you do decide to use a McKenzie Friend then we have complied, what we consider to be helpful tips on selecting the right McKenzie friend for you.

 

McKenzie Friends- Beware and be careful who you choose!

McKenzie Friends- Beware and be careful who you choose!

Check out the credentials of your McKenzie friend

Does he or she have any relevant legal qualifications or experience in dealing with family law cases?. A McKenzie Friend who regularly assists in debt litigation for example may approach family law proceedings in the same litigious and often aggressive manner which  is highly inappropriate in a family law setting. Your McKenzie Friend should help you to remain calm and focused rather than clouding the issues by raising the heat in your case through offering inappropriate advice.

Meet with your McKenzie friend before the hearing/meeting

Be sure that he or she is patient and that your personalities work together. Your McKenzie Friend is there to help you remain calm not to get you worked up. Conduct your own assessment of him or her. As questions about previous experience and how they handled a difficult situation at Court.

Be clear about what your McKenzie Friend is offering.

Is your McKenzie Friend prepared to stay with you until the end of the proceedings, therefore ensuring continuity of assistance at Court?

Is your McKenzie Friend prepared to provide you with a detailed attendance note? If so when? Is there a charge for this?

Your McKenzie Friend is entitled to be compensated for his or her time, be clear about the charges involved. Do they require compensating on an hourly rate basis or is it a fixed fee? Is mileage and travel included?

Is your McKenzie Friend prepared to speak to the Court on your behalf if permission is granted by the Judge? Do they have the relevant experience?

 

At Family Law Friend, we offer professional and highly trained McKenzie Friends. We offer clear fixed fee compensation rates and we always provide you with a detailed attendance note within 48 hours of  the hearing.

We guarantee continuity of McKenzie Friend, you will always have the same person with you, the person you trust and will have built up a report with.

All Family Law Friend representatives are former family solicitors with advocacy experience and so if permission is granted, we are confident in our ability to explain your position to the Court.

We are respectful and professional in our dealings with all parties which will assist you in negotiating outside of Court which hopefully means that you are more likely to reach an agreement with the other side.

We have representatives nationwide and we are available at short notice.

 

If you need a solicitor or barrister we will be able to point you in the right direction to ensure that you have a suitably experience and qualified legal representative at Court should the need arise and you decide that you want a solicitor or barrister to represent you later in proceedings.

Our experience means that we are able to identify when you may need to obtain legal advice in order to prevent an escalation of the issues raised at Court.

 

Our McKenzie Friends are able to support you at meetings at solicitors offices and or meetings with other professionals to include social workers if the Local Authority ( Social Services ) is involved in your case.

We offer a free consultation and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate to you that we are the right McKenzie Friend to support you through the Family Court process.

Contact us today on 0161 924 2390 or email us at info@familylawfriend.co.uk

 

Best wishes

Your Family Law Friend