A McKenzie Friend is a non-legally qualified person who can sit with your during a court a hearing – not as a representative but to offer advice and assistance.
A McKenzie Friend can accompany you in a Family court hearing but the court's/judge's permission must be sought first. You are obliged to ask the judge's permission and also give the name of the person who is acting as your McKenzie Friend.
They can be used for the purpose of assisting in taking notes, helping to organise the documents, and making suggestions but can't address the court as a lay advocate.
The term McKenzie friend comes from a divorce case, McKenzie v McKenzie (1970), where the husband was representing himself and wanted the help of a non-legally qualified person at court.
Is Permission for a McKenzie Friend Always Granted?
A judge will not usually refuse permission unless it's believed that allowing the McKenzie Friend would interfere with the administration of justice. In this case, the court should consider whether a warning to you or the McKenzie Friend will suffice in the first instance, before an outright refusal is made. If the judge decides refuse, he/she must give her reasons for doing so.
While the McKenzie Friend cannot address the court, occasionally if a party is assisted by a McKenzie Friend who has particular knowledge about the case or some aspect of it, the judge might decide that justice can more expediently be carried out by speaking directly to the McKenzie Friend.
A McKenzie Friend Can:
A McKenzie Friend Cannot:
Other Non-Legally Trained Representatives
There is really no restriction on who may represent a party in some courts. The person need not be a "friend". Others who may be able to provide assistance or representation include colleagues, accountants, financial advisers, representatives from trade unions or professional bodies, or consumer rights advisors etc.
A non-legally qualified representative might also be a lawyer whose qualifications are not recognised in this jurisdiction. In fact, the McKenzie Friend in the case of McKenzie v McKenzie was an Australian lawyer. The McKenzie Friend cannot take the place of the party and the party must be present at the hearing.
McKenzie Friend Summary
If a litigant in person feels the need for some moral support, or assistance in conducting their case, they may find some comfort in taking a McKenzie Friend to court. A McKenzie Friend is someone who is not legally qualified but who can sit with a party during the hearing offering advice and practical assistance. They are not entitled to address the court but, in the relative informality of a some court hearings, the judge may be prepared to hear from them if they can provide information that is relevant to the case.
Unlike many other McKenzie friend services we will not take on all cases referred to us. Father Figure regards the welfare of the child as paramount as such we will only consider cases where we believe contact is in the best interest of the child.
How much will this Cost?
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