As a first step in the recognition of the need for and contribution by McKenzie Friends, the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Family Division published Guidance Notes in July 2010. They cover:
- The Right to Reasonable Assistance
- What McKenzie Friends may do
- What McKenzie Friends may not do
- Exercising the Right to Reasonable Assistance
- Rights of audience and rights to conduct litigation
- Personal Support Unit & Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Unfortunately, these notes do not cover ‘reasonable assistance in prison‘.
Here is a review of cases where McKenzie Friends helped or didn’t help.
It is not good practice to exclude the proposed McKenzie friend from the courtroom or chambers whilst the application by the litigant in person for her/his assistance is being made. The litigant who needs the assistance of a McKenzie friend is likely to need the assistance of such a friend to make the application for her/his appointment in the first place. In any event, it is helpful for the proposed McKenzie friend to be present.
Unfortunately, Ian Josephs and I suffered from this bad practice in July 2011 and Ian submitted a complaint.
The review ends with
The court noted, however, that the passage of time had demonstrated that the term McKenzie friend had become well-recognised and understood by lawyers and litigants alike, and expressed the view that the term was here to stay. That seems to be confirmed by the fact that the McKenzie friend has now earned himself a mention in rules of court.
Since then, this report was produced by the Legal Service Consumer Panel: