Welcome to another week.
The House of Commons library has managed to gather what data there is on Litigants in Person (LIPs) in the civil courts and has just put it all into one report for reading. The report comes at a time when a renewed call to create a code of conduct for McKenzie Friends has seen an interesting shift in thinking.
The rise of the McKenzie friend, lay advisors who offer legal and general guidance to parents and children going through the Family Court who cannot afford conventional representation (sometimes referred to as LIPs), has also highlighted an opportunistic streak within the legal profession.
A recent article in the Law Gazette quotes Chair of the Society of Professional McKenzie Friends, Ray Barry, as saying that only fee charging McKenzies should be able to stand up in court and talk on behalf of their clients.
Mr Barry’s Society of Professional McKenzie Friends – previously named The McKenzie Friends Trade Association – are not strictly speaking, lay advisors, or individuals without legal qualifications . We wrote about the Association in 2014, when we noticed that most McKenzies on their books were in fact, lawyers.
So, this week, we have two questions for you: firstly, do you think practicing lawyers should also be allowed to act as McKenzie Friends, and secondly, do you agree with Mr Barry that only fee charging lay advisors should get rights of audience?