McKenzie Friends

O (CHILDREN), W-R (A CHILD), W (CHILDREN) [2005] EWCA Civ 759

Three cases heard together. Justice Thorpe and Justice Wall (in appeal) reviewed the evidence from the objections to allowing Mckenzie friends to help litigants in person (LIP).

It was decided that the conduct of the Mckenzie was polite and appropriate and that a litigant had the right to release documents to a Mckenzie friend in order to help research and prepare the litigant´s case. The main proviso was that the documents were not to be made public. Also, disclosure to Local Authorities and the Police was not considered to be disclosure to the general public because they would be acting under their own regulations. So this was permissible.

RE H (McKENZIE FRIEND: PRE-TRIAL DETERMINATION) [2001] EWCA Civ 1444
[2002] 1 FLR 39

It is very important in family proceedings that litigants in person ranged up against solicitors and counsel should have the assistance that they think appropriate, particularly if it is going to contribute to their sense of confidence in the proceedings. So whilst I recognise the judge’s right to exclude a particular McKenzie friend for good reason, it seems to me that the presumption in favour of permitting a McKenzie friend is a strong one.