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3 Responses to “McKenzie Friend or Foe?”

  1. I am a respected McKenzie Friend and I am shocked that this would happen. I am further shocked that the judge did not exercise much more control by stopping the McKenzie Friend from speaking. Obviously this was a private law issue of which I personally do not do very much, I specialise in public law. However I am regularly allowed to speak, and have been complemented on the standards that I have set both in presenting verbal arguments and written arguments.

    It saddens me that such a lamentable situation arose in court.

    We must not all be tarred with the same brush, but I am afraid that solicitors too come under fire regularly of a different nature, such as “they didn’t fight my case”, “they didn’t take instruction”, and children adopted because of evidence not being brought out in court.

    I have varied a PSO which was wrongly slapped on a mother for a period of two years. I have overturned a placement order. in 2012, I have appealed on the basis that respected professional advocates have used the wrong case law (Coventry City Council 2011 was not used in a case and the judge didn’t believe me and Brent was to define if placement with adopters had happened.). When I next met the judge again whose decision I had taken to the Court of Appeal he said ” I am listening Mrs Haines”.

    I am proud of who I am and my ability to fight for the litigant and proud that my arguments when written are often mistaken for those written by counsel. I have had appeals passed to me by firms of solicitors and also worked happily alongside very experienced barristers.

    I have been treated like an idiot and like something contemptible by those who have never met me but have won their respect (if very grudgingly) in the end because of my knowledge of the law.

    McKenzies are here to stay. Personally I want to see a highly regulated Lay Advocate tier, we all have to work together.

  2. Julie Haines on March 26th, 2013 at 3:16 pm
  3. I was helped by a Mckenzie Friend at a final hearing about periodical payments. My ex-wife was represented by a barrister and I was Litigant in Person. The Mckenzie Friend was, I felt, of great help to me in moral support and reminding me about points I needed to make. I made my case but the judge did absolutely nothing to guide me or clarify anything for me and I felt he was in the barrister’s pocket throughout and kept looking at his watch impatiently. I ended up complaining to the OJC about his conduct but as I imagined it would, the ranks closed behind him – all the way up to Harriet Harman. I was thoroughly disillusioned with the whole unfair process and the total deference the judge showed the barrister. I thought the judge was meant to be in charge of the proceedings.

  4. Neil Wills on April 18th, 2013 at 4:51 pm
  5. I am currently doing the LPC and have recently assisted a neighbour as a McKenzie friend in litigation against an unscrupulous builder. So far we have obtained judgement in default but i am however very much aware of my limitations and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I got a lot of help from the pro-bono crew at the UOL. And although I applied the law correctly and followed the CPR to the best of my abilities it was great to be able to ask a qualified solicitor for their opinion. In essence McKenzie friends are there to support parties but they are not advocates and it is not hard to envisage where it could backfire.

  6. Joe Kelly on January 30th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

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