McKenzie Friends Frequently Asked Questions
A more detailed article can be found below the two main questions:
Who are McKenzie friends?
McKenzie Friends can help with court proceedings by providing moral support, taking notes, helping with case papers and giving layman support.
A McKenzie Friend is not entitled to address the court, nor examine any witnesses, manage cases outside the court or act as an agent. However, in exceptional circumstances, a judge may grant a McKenzie Friend what is termed “rights of audience” in a particular case. The McKenzie Friend would then be allowed to address the court and conduct the litigant’s case for him/her.
To learn about all the ways we can help you, have a look at our ABOUT page!
Are McKenzie Friends regulated?
The activities of McKenzie Friends are not controlled. It is not necessary for McKenzie friends to have any legal qualification. HOWEVER, CHL's McKenzie Friends are licensed paralegals, with the licence to practice as well as being a Fellow Member of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals. As well as having practiced and having had right of audience in the High Court before.
To find out more about the experience our McKenzie friends have, and how the qualifications of out McKenzie Friends surpass other McKenzie friends, have a look at our about page!
Who is a McKenzie Friend?
A McKenzie Friend is a layperson or a professional who can offer moral support to litigants in court. Here, a McKenzie Friend can advise on different questions a litigant can ask and other legal points. They can take notes and organise essential documents. However, a McKenzie Friend cannot examine witnesses, speak on behalf of the litigant, or be an agent. Have a look at the services we offer on our services page.
Under special conditions, a McKenzie Friend can attain the "Right of Audience." Through this, a McKenzie Friend can speak in court. However, he or she has to get the power to conduct litigation to run the case.
The concept of McKenzie Friend came to England's court after the divorce of McKenzie vs McKenzie. It happened in 1970. Here, the husband ran the case himself. He requested moral support in court. However, the court rejected his request. But when he came up with an appeal to the court, the court passed the order. It was because, as per the European Convention on Moral Support, litigants can have assistance.
Who can be your McKenzie Friend?
McKenzie Friends can assist you through the legal proceedings of your case. Though they can assist you, they may not possess any legal qualifications. In the earlier days, a McKenzie Friend was mostly a friend or family member who could provide moral support during a case. However, it has changed now, and people opt for professional McKenzie Friends. You can have a barrister or a solicitor as your McKenzie Friend. It is essential to provide them with fees for their services. You can never choose your witness as a McKenzie Friend. However, your judge can make the final decision on who can be your McKenzie Friend for a case.
It is essential to choose your McKenzie Friend carefully there is no quality control for McKenzie Friends in England. However, at Court Help Limited, not only do we specialize in family law, but we take pride in our full five star google reviews, call us at 07375757510 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
However, you don't have to worry. It is always best to opt for McKenzie Friends, who are part of the association of paralegals. With their high qualifications and experience, they can assist you during your case efficiently. In fact, the director of Court Help Limited is a fellow member of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals.
Can I have a McKenzie Friend, and what all information can I share with my McKenzie Friend?
You can get permission to have a McKenzie Friend to support you in a case. As per Case Law, every litigant may apply for a McKenzie Friend if he or she finds it necessary. However, it is under the court's discretion to choose your McKenzie Friend. The court can refuse a McKenzie Friend only under certain circumstances. It is a judgement made in 2005 by Watson, Whelan, and O' Connel.
You can share any information with your McKenzie Friend to seek advice. If you require any counsel concerning filed pieces of evidence to make better decisions, you can also share it with your McKenzie Friend. However, it is essential to have a highly reliable McKenzie Friend, which is what Court Help Limited can give you.Confidentiality comes under the Family Proceedings Rule of 1991. However, there is a change in it to permit a McKenzie Friend in a case. It is part of a new rule under 10.20 A. As per this variation, litigants can share details with their McKenzie Friends. However, McKenzie Friends must state that they will not disclose confidential elements of the case.
What are the documents required to apply for a McKenzie Friend?
When you apply for a McKenzie Friend to support you during your case, you will have to do two things. First, you have to notify the concerned court that you will need a McKenzie Friend. You can write a letter providing the required details. Along with that, you will have to inform your opposition concerning it. Once you have conveyed your interest in having a McKenzie Friend for you, you will have to create a Curriculum Vitae for your McKenzie Friend.
In the CV, there are a few details you have to mention. They include your McKenzie Friend's interest in being part of your case and their confidentiality. Apart from that, you have to explain that your McKenzie Friend understands his or her role clearly. You have to provide a statement for the same and show that your McKenzie Friend does not have any personal connections with the concerned case. It is also beneficial if your McKenzie Friend has prior experience. However, you don't have to explain it in detail. These are the documents you need to provide while applying for a McKenzie Friend in your case. Court Help Limited can do this for you,
What can I do if the court refuses my request for a McKenzie Friend?
Even though you can have a McKenzie Friend, the court has the ultimate right to decide on that matter. It is quite unlikely that they will refuse your request. If the court refuses your request, the judge will provide the reason behind such a judgement. Once you receive the details in writing, you can evaluate them thoroughly and then proceed in two ways.
First, you can write politely to the judge that you wish to discontinue the procedure as you lack support. You can request an adjournment. However, it might impact your case adversely. Second, you can state that you have the right to receive assistance as per the sixth Article of the Human Rights Act. You have to proceed with your hearing and present that you might be in an unfavourable situation. It would be helpful if you plan to advance with an appeal.
Though it could assist you in the appeal, there is no assurance that you will regain your McKenzie Friend.
Do McKenzie Friend’s charge?
Here at Court Help Limited, we charge a fee which you can find on our fees page, which is much cheaper than solicitors. Not all McKenie friends charge, however you will most likely have to pay if you want high quality service.
What are the pros of having a McKenzie Friend?
Firstly, McKenzie friends are miles cheaper than solicitors.
Though they do not have the right to represent you in court, they can still be in the court room with you on your court date, assist you and prove you with information at all times. If you have a Mckenzie Friend, s/he can offer you valuable suggestions for your case. Mckenzie Friend has experience handling similar situations.
So, a Mckenzie Friend can provide you with encouragement and reassurance. It might be difficult for you to deal with the pressure while you are in court. When you have the help of a Mckenzie Friend, it could be easier for you to overcome the situation.
With the support of a McKenzie Friend, you can separate factual data and emotion comprehensively. Through this, you can get a clear picture of the case. It will help you deal with them with no hassle
What are the conditions under which you may not get a McKenzie Friend?
The court can remove a Mckenzie Friend under different conditions. The court can do so at the start or during the session. The circumstance under which the court comes up with such a decision is when a Mckenzie Friend acts against justice. However, the court will have to provide a judgement that depicts the reason behind such a removal. The litigant could move for an appeal against the decision made by the court. However, the Mckenzie Friend cannot indulge in any such things.
There are various conditions under which a court can remove a McKenzie Friend. They include -
If the court finds that a McKenzie Friend is conducting litigation on behalf of the litigant directly or indirectly,
If the court discovers that a McKenzie Friend did not behave confidentially during the case,
If the court notices that a McKenzie Friend offered unreasonable assistance to the litigant,
If the court understands that the litigant does not have a voice in the case,
Under these circumstances, the court can disapprove of a McKenzie Friend from helping a litigant. Along with that, certain factors must not interfere while a court decides if a litigant requires a McKenzie Friend. They include :
The case is uncomplicated.
The litigant seems like he or she can handle the case without the help of a McKenzie Friend.
The lawsuit comprises confidential proceedings and sensitive information.
The McKenzie Friend is part of an organisation.
The opponent does not have a McKenzie Friend.
A court cannot reject a McKenzie Friend under these circumstances.
What are the circumstances under which a McKenzie Friend can attain the "Right of Audience"?
It is an offence to practise the "Right of Audience" for a McKenzie Friend in court. He or she does not have the power to run the case either. However, under certain circumstances, there can be exceptions.
The court will provide it depending on the case and can vary from one lawsuit to another. With the "Right of Audience," the court does not give it without thoroughly considering the conditions. The court has to conduct proper evaluation and consideration before giving it to a layperson. A McKenzie Friend can attain the "right of audience," under these conditions. They include -
If the litigant confronts health problems and cannot afford a lawyer
If the McKenzie Friend has a close relationship with the litigant,
If the litigant cannot articulate the problem and might delay the proceedings,
These are a few general conditions under which the court can grant the "right of audience." If the litigant wants their McKenzie Friend to receive it, the litigant must request it at the beginning of a court session.
Why is there an increase in the demand for McKenzie Friends?
Around seven to ten years back, litigants chose their friends or family members to provide them with moral support. There were some professionals, too. However, they were highly affordable. Since 2013, there has been a drastic change in this situation. The UK government created a new law that there cannot be any free legal services. It has become applicable to both family cases like divorces and civil lawsuits like debt.
Most litigants who did not have the financial situations to pay for a lawyer started to depend on McKenzie Friends. The fundamental reason behind this is that McKenzie Friends is more affordable than lawyers. Because of this, there has been a steady rise in the demand for McKenzie Friends in England.