Responses to a consultation looking into the rise of McKenzie Friends in the family courts has been published. The report was released on Monday, and offers thoughts on the ways in which lay advisors should be able to attend hearings, the kind of support they may need and what codes of conduct they should adhere to.
In the report, the Judicial Executive Board makes the following recommendations:
- All courts should apply the current law applicable to McKenzie Friends as established by Court of Appeal authority
- The provision of a Plain Language Guide for LiPs and McKenzie Friends
- Practice Guidance on McKenzie Friends should be updated
There are other thoughts inside the report. The following comments and recommendations were made by respondents to the consultation:
- McKenzie Friends should be granted automatic rights of audience
- There should be an outright prohibition on McKenzie Friends and other non-regulated individuals or organisations providing legal services
- The term McKenzie Friend is confusing and should be replaced with “court supporter”
- The term McKenzie Friend is widely known and understood by lawyers and the public
- A less strict approach to granting rights of audience should apply to family
Ian Josephs said:
i think McKenzie friends should have an automatic right of audience in the courts . I also think that they should be forbidden to charge fees but should be allowed to recover expenses for travel etc .
This would prevent those who are only in it for the money but who give worthless advice !
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[Name Withheld] said:
I have experienced this with Lay Justices in the Family Court. I have audio proof of legal secretary  dismissing my concerns of not allowing me to question the respondent and shouting that we will not review the section 7 document or ask  to sign the Aafadavit under the penalty of perjury.
VeraMaureen Jenner said:
There are still so many layers to peel off this particular tear-inducing onion responsible for so much heartbreak.
[Name Withheld] said:
I left a abusive man to only be abused by family court. The law is not followed and I can’t begin to explain all that as happened, and they get away with it! I was put on the streets with my two girls, restraining order ignored , as if they hate women or maybe because during the course of our divorce, my ex and his mistress became police officers,, it’s not what you know it’s who you know! with ,my ex never complied with anything, yet rewarded for this, perjury , and abuse,
they even ask how his drive was! commissioners help. They don’t like attorney from out of there area and will play with your life as well as your children. Restraining order ignored and mistakes made have lead to ” he takes all” with the help of the Court!
When you can’t get help from a abusive husband and a family court , who is going to help? They play golf together is what I’m told !
Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear about all that you and your daughters have gone through.