There are many different support for people within the Family Court to include legal representation, friend or supportive person sitting with you in the waiting area for moral support.

You are allowed to take friend or family with you to Court. The hearings are usually private but if you don’t have legal representation you could consider to apply for a McKenzie Friend.

The mane derives from a legal case called McKenzie -v- McKenzie (1970) 3 WLR 472. It was a divorce case however one party was unable to afford the continued use of solicitors so the solicitors sent somebody to assist him for free.

Attending Court as litigant in person can be a very daunting experience for anybody. You can seek permission form the Court to be allowed a McKenzie Friend to support you whilst in the Court room. An application can be made on the day at Court in relation to the request. The Court will need to consider the application before the hearing proceeds. The key role for a McKenzie friend is to provide moral support and direction, not legal advice.

Sometimes a McKenzie friend who is a close friend or family member can cause you a greater issue than help. They are NOT able to speak on your behalf but sometimes they may well try and do so. If a McKenzie friend wishes to file evidence within the proceedings as a potential witness they are unable to be your McKenzie friend. It is a criminal offence for someone to act as an advocate unless the Court has given permission. McKenzie friends do not have to have any qualifications or training.

A more sensible McKenzie friend will support but not get involved providing moral support and direction.

A McKenzie friend may also take notes to assist, help find the correct papers and also give advice on questions to ask witnesses.

 

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