What is a McKenzie Friend and how can they help you?
A McKenzie friend, an accepted legal term, gives people who are not represented by a solicitor or barrister, the guidance and assistance they need with their case. For a variety of reasons, many people decide not to instruct a solicitor or barrister to represent them. If you are unrepresented you are known as a Litigant in Person (LIP) and a McKenzie Friend can help you. We help with completing application forms, correspondence, the preparation of statements, devising strategies, as well as accompanying you to court and assisting you throughout the hearing.
Why use a McKenzie Friend?
There are many reasons why you might choose to use a McKenzie Friend instead of instructing a solicitor or barrister. A McKenzie friend is more cost-effective, and provides an equally professional service and solution. Family law is one of the few areas of law where you are able to obtain a positive result by representing yourself, with a professional and knowledgeable McKenzie Friend to guide and support you throughout the process.
What can a McKenzie Friend do?
A McKenzie Friend fulfills many of the roles of a solicitor, such as, preparing your court applications, statements, attending court with you, negotiating with the other side outside the court room, and on occasion, and with permission from the Judge, speaking on your behalf.
What can a McKenzie Friend not do?
Whilst a McKenzie Friend cannot sign or send papers to court on your behalf, we can prepare all of the documentation for your signature. A McKenzie Friend is not entitled to address the court, or examine any witnesses. However, in exceptional circumstances, Judges have granted McKenzie Friends, the right to speak on behalf of the client.
We recommend that you choose your McKenzie Friend carefully. Your McKenzie Friend should be someone you trust and it is important that you verify their qualifications, experience and testimonials. We recommend you read the following report carried out by the Legal Services Consumer Panel into the role of McKenzie Friends: