McKenzie Friends are there to help in court with your Family and Divorce cases in England and Wales. |
Growing from the case of McKenzie in which a person not qualified to talk in courts in England first helped someone deal with their own case, the concept of a McKenzie Friend has become widely recognised over the years. They now form an important and respected part of the legal system and judges have been told by the President of the Family Division of the High Court to allow them except in rare circumstances. In particular they are welcomed in family cases which would normally be private with only the parties and their professional lawyers being present.
This means that McKenzie Friends are often used in Family and Divorce cases, helping argue over children, money and property following the end of a marriage.
McKenzie Friends are not usually allowed to talk on behalf of their clients but they can do everything else. They will meet you at court, guide you to the right room and book you in with the usher. They deal with practical matters such as exchanging documents and finding the right room.
Their main job is to help with the hearing itself. They will be allowed in the room and given permission to take notes. They can quietly advise on what is happening and what to do next as well as making suggestions as to questions to ask and points to raise.
McKenzie Friends can negotiate outside the courtroom and help with collecting documents after the hearing and explaining what the court has ordered.
For those growing number of people who are not willing to let solicitors and barristers tell them what to do or charge their fees, acting as a litigant in person is an attractive alternative. You get to have your say and save thousands in fees.
However, going to court can be confusing and a little intimidating and many people find that if you are going to court to fight for something important, it is best to have a McKenzie Friend in your corner. They need to be there and need to be on your side as a means to enable and ensure your case is able to be a successful one overall.
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