The Lord Chief Justice‘s Consultation on Reforming the Courts’ Approach to McKenzie Friends came out on the day we won our ‘costs case‘: after we’ve been helping Melissa Laird in all sorts of roles in HMP Holloway, the Treasury Solicitor‘s Office thought they needed their money back that they had paid to a private barrister to ‘beat’ us.
The consultation was recently discussed with the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority – with the result: No Case for ban on paid McKenzie Friends and VERY interesting comments regarding the chaos of the legal system – created by money and ‘professional insurance’ above all else.
Submissions by voluntary McKenzie Friends have been made – in chronological order – by:
- Natasha Phillips – publisher of the excellent blog Researching Reform;
- Mr Anonymous;
- Deborah Mahmoudieh – fearless campaigner and multi-issue advocate;
McKenzie Angels are generally supportive – especially in the public gallery of court rooms – rather than active in terms of writing or presenting submissions to courts.
Posted in Acting as McKenzie Friend, Admin Court, Court of Appeal, HM Government, Master of the Rolls Office, Public Interest Advocacy, Right of Audience, Royal Courts of Justice, Secrecy Family Courts, The Judiciary, The Lord Chief Justice, Treasury Solicitor's Office
Reforming the courts’ approach to McKenzie Friends
This response to the consultation goes beyond the scope of questions posed, as this is written on behalf of an unestimable number of Courts’ Victims and McKenzie Friends with a variety of experiences in and out of courts.
I am a systems analyst who used to diagnose software at CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research in Geneva, publish 32 websites and petitions as Voices for the Voiceless and have played many roles as McKenzie Friend. This includes the receipt of ‘gagging orders’ faked by local councils.
More recently, assisting a mother to get her children returned and protecting other child victims at risk, led to what we have been campaigning against and Harriet Harman MP alerted Parliament in 2006 to: 200 parents a year are imprisoned in secrecy!
Hence I am writing not only as an advocate of Children’s Rights, but also as a victim of Human Rights violation due to court secrecy – from personal experience of threats of imprisonment and the reality of arrests and prosecution.
Replacing the term ‘McKenzie Friend’ or eradicating the need for McKenzie Friends? Continue reading
Submission from Deborah Mahmoudieh as a member of the Association of McKenzie Friends and McKenzie Angels in relation to present proposals for government reforms on the presence and practice of McKenzie Friends in UK courts and society:
Terminology: Should the term ‘McKenzie Friend’ should be updated to something that is easier to understand, like ‘Court Supporter’.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The term ‘McKenzie Friend’ has its roots in British legal history and refers to a specific legal case: 1970 case McKenzie v McKenzie: “In that case, the husband was representing himself and wanted the help of someone who was not legally qualified in the English Courts. His request was refused. However on appeal, it was determined that having moral support in Court was part of being entitled to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights. Any such assistants/supporters are therefore now referred to as ‘McKenzie Friends’.”
http://www.separateddads.co.uk/using-mckenzie-friend-court.html Continue reading
It is an interesting sign of our times:
Before we submit our text in the name of the Association of McKenzie Friends to email@example.com, here is:
- Natasha Phillips’ contribution of three salient points on her excellent blog Researching Reform;
- a McKenzie Friend’s text who wishes to remain anonymous and repeats all questions to be answered.
These are thus two good models / templates for you to submit your own response, or maybe just ‘general’ points.
Master of the Rolls Private Office
Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL
REFORMING THE COURT’S APPROACH TO MCKENZIE FRIENDS – A CONSULTATION
I am writing to make representations regarding the “Reforming the Court’s Approach to McKenzie Friends – A Consultation”, currently being undertaken by the Judiciary Department of the Ministry of Justice.
My responses are under the question headings as set out in the consultation paper. Continue reading
MCKENZIE FRIENDS ON THE LINE, LANDMARK CASE!
Just to let you know, in case any within orbit might be interested to come along, that Sabine and I/the Association of McKenzie Friends are up in front of Mrs Justice Simler in the ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE, ADMIN COURT, THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY. 2 hours have been allocated to the hearing but we don’t as yet know the time (the usual ploy to minimise the number of supporters in the courtroom, no doubt).
The issue basically is whether McKenzie Friends should be charged costs for assisting in litigants’ cases. The Treasury Solicitor is trying to get £2000 out of us for helping Melissa Laird, our US mum marooned in HMP Holloway alongside Gloria Musa in 2011-13, pursue a Judicial Review and avoid deportation back to the US while her then 5 year-old boy remained in the care of Barnet Council. (Yes, that Council and that judge yet again…).
She/we were unsuccessful and she was summarily put on a Virgin Atlantic flight on the morning of 12 September 2013 and dumped in Washington Dulles Airport in her wheelchair (she’d been roughed up in Holloway) without money or documents. The $200 I rushed over to Heathrow for her on the morning of her flight of course hardly went anywhere and had to be topped up several times over the following weeks. She was still living in the airport in by now freezing temperatures in December… Continue reading