The Legal Consumer Services Panel have published a report which backs McKenzie friends and considers the need to regulate this growing form of representation.
It’s good news for the McKenzie culture, still shunned by courts and judges all over the land, but the regulation dimension may cause difficulties. Much depends on what angle the LCS Panel chooses to take, and as a legal service body it will be interesting to see whether they view McKenzies as a way of making money through them via the use of regulation or as a way of deterring their use through onerous regulatory procedures. There’s a balance to be had, we’re just not sure yet what it might look like in practice.
Add to this the government’s recent decision to get law students to ‘prep’ families going through the courts in dedicated centres, and it all seems rather self-serving. Despite Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes saying he wants less lawyers involved in the process, this new measure is likely to encourage the opposite.
It’s all a little transparent and disappointing, but one thing’s for sure – McKenzies are here to stay. It’s time they made a stand and got involved in the process of cultivating themselves to prevent greedy government officials from taking advantage of what they have to offer – often, first hand experience and an excellent understanding of what law is truly meant to represent.