A McKenzie Friend is someone who assists a Litigant in Person in court. McKenzie Friends are not necessarily legally qualified and their role is more limited than that of a solicitor or barrister. However I do have some legal qualifications through CILEX and CILEX qualifications are recognised in the legal profession and once fully qualified are classed as lawyers the same as solicitors and barristers. Please refer to their website for more information. www.cilex.org.uk.
I also have gained experience working in a law firm and have dealt with personal disputes in relation to family matters so I know exactly what people have to go through. The name McKenzie friend derives from a divorce case in 1970 in which a barrister who was qualified in Australian but not English law attempted to assist Mr McKenzie at a court hearing. The judge would not let the barrister take any active part in the case; Mr Mckenzie appealed to the Court of Appeal. It was decided that Mr Mckenzie had been deprived of assistance to which he was entitled and a retrial was ordered.
A McKenzie Friend is permitted to further the interests of justice by achieving a level playing field and ensuring a fair hearing. Requests for assistance from a McKenzie Friend will only be refused for compelling reasons, and in the event, the judge must explain those reasons fully to the LiP and the prospective McKenzie Friend;
A McKenzie Friend cannot speak directly to the court unless invited to do so;
Confidential information and court papers can be disclosed to a McKenzie Friend;
A McKenzie Friend may assist with such tasks as taking notes, helping to organise documents, and making suggestions;
McKenzie Friends are not permitted to manage a case outside court therefore all correspondence must be addressed to the LiP;
A LiP will need to advise the court if a McKenzie Friend will be attending hearings, meetings etc., but a McKenzie Friend has no right of address to the court; and
The court should not...