General Disclaimer: Nothing presented constitutes legal advice and the McKenzie Friend UK Network is not a legal entity or in anyway claims to be a 'legal resource'. The resource guide is supported by McKenzie Friends and Litigants in person for Litigants in Person in Family Court. McKenzie Friends provide layperson support as an informed friend under the Family Court Practice Guidance of 2010. All information is published under the spirit of that guidance. For any corrections of the information, please contact the McKenzie Friend UK Network
What is a McKenzie Friend?
A McKenzie Friend is a term used primarily in common law jurisdictions, including England and Wales. It refers to a person who provides assistance and support to an individual representing themselves in a court case, usually in family or civil proceedings. The McKenzie Friend is not a legal professional, but rather a layperson who can offer practical and emotional support to the unrepresented litigant.
The name "McKenzie Friend" comes from a 1970 British court case called McKenzie v. McKenzie, where it was ruled that a friend of the family could accompany an unrepresented litigant to provide assistance during the court proceedings.
The McKenzie Friend's role is extensive including offering moral support, taking notes, helping with case papers, and offering general advice. There is no right to address the court directly, or to advocate, without the permission of the court.
The concept behind McKenzie Friends is that it is an irrebuttable truth that you don't need to pay for lawyers in the the family court. Lawyers, who all too often engage in thousands of pounds of uneccessary work, stir the pot of hate and acrimony for financial gain and have no professional duty of care for any child.
There is no advantage to having a lawyer, a lawyer cannot get you what you want. A McKenzie Friend is a sensible alternative to support you through the process as an informed friend.
Please note that all McKenzie Friends listed are independent business entities who operate under their own Terms and Conditions providing their own services. They are not employed by us and we are not responsible or liable for their service provided.
The General Principles
McKenzie Friend CASE LAW
Lord Tenterden CJ in Collier v Hicks (1831) 2 B & Ad 663 that: 'Any person, whether he be a professional man or not, may attend as a friend of either party, may take notes, may quietly make suggestions, and give advice … '.
R v Leicester City Justices, ex p. Barrow [1991] 2 QB 260 (CA) where it was said that –
'if a party arms himself with assistance in order the better himself to present his case, it is not a question of seeking the leave of the court. It is a question of the court objecting and restricting him in the use of this assistance, if it is clearly unreasonable in nature or degree or if it becomes apparent that the 'assistance' is not being provided bona fide, but for an improper purpose or is being provided in a way which is inimical to the proper and efficient administration of justice by, for example, causing the party to waste time, advising the introduction of irrelevant issues or the asking of irrelevant or repetitious questions.'
In Re H (Chambers Proceedings: McKenzie Friend) [1997] 2 FLR 423 the Court of Appeal held that a Recorder should not have refused to allow a father to have a McKenzie Friend in an application for contact to his daughter heard in chambers.
Read all Case Law
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Philip Kedge is a retired police Chief Inspector and the founder and director of the McKenzie Friend UK Network. His aim is to take family court matters out of the hands of lawyers with an ethical business to reduce conflict and acrimony, to provide access to cost effective McKenzie Friend national services, to offer training and to reduce the emotional harm to children.
Phil is the founder of the National
Campaign #lightnothate