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Bad Mckenzie Friend!(152 Posts)
I'm new here and was after some advice.
My ex has custody of our daughter (aged 12) who would now like to live with me. I asked a Mckenzie friend for help, he said it would be no problem, i just needed to pay him for filing the papers with the courts and for his time to fill them in. i paid him the money and waited for a week. Nothing. I called him and he said a hearing was taking place the following week that i didn't need to attend and that my ex had been served with the papers. I know my ex and if he had the papers, there is no way he wouldn't say anything to me, i heard nothing from him. The MF said he was likely staying quiet because he was going to contest it but he'd send me a report of the 'serving of papers' again, i had nothing. after the first hearing had happened, i asked if there was an outcome, the MF said yes, there is a hearing i need to attend in 3 weeks, i said ok, can i have the papers to confirm when and where it is for my own peace of mind. He agreed to send them on 3 different occasions, nothing ever arrived. I then called the local family court to see what was happening, they hadn't heard of me or the case. I told MF this and he agreed to meet up with me the following day, he didn't show up at 2 different arranged times. i asked for my money back which he agreed to, but again nothing happened! i threatened to call the police, he said he was transferring the money back to me and sending my papers, to date i've had nothing, i don't know what to do and need some help from someone, i doubt very much the police can do anything, i can provide details of this person to stop anyone else being duped by him but right now, my concern is my daughter and getting my money back so i can proceed with the court case myself. Any advice is gratefully appreciated.
oh dear, I'm sorry to say you have learnt the hard way
(Most) MF's are not legally qualified. There are no doubt a few that are/were qualified but few and far between.
I'm sure that you are not supposed to pay MFs, I believe they are supposed to help on a voluntary basis.
You need to instruct a family lawyer asap. Have a look at the Resolution website for one in your area. Good luck
What MOS said. You have unfortunately been had. MFs are supposed to be people who just hold your hand through the process as necessary, they can not act on your behalf in the same way as a lawyer.
Get a family lawyer to file an application for a residence order (or if money's tight, you can find all the forms online on the Justice Dept website).
If the MF doesn't refund your money you'll have to issue a small claims court summons against him.
How much have you paid him?
Thanks for the responses, I knew he'd done me over, just needed it confirmed I'm £400 worse off, probably not worth taking him to court over, its sickening that there are people out there who will scam someone because they want the best for their kids! will just have to name and shame him wherever I can! Thanks again
Unless your local court is a monster one, it's worth remembering that if you sue him and he defends it, he's likely to end up in front of one of the very judges who decides whether he can come in as a MF. I'm sorry you got done. What a shit.
You really don't need someone to fill in forms for you, the C100 is mainly filling in things like your name. You'll need 4 copies for the court, and the court fee of £200. Good luck!
And next time, talk to a solicitor about fixed fees, most firms are working to do what they can within normal peoples' budgets.
Thanks Mrs bb, I'm still 'negotiating' with this guy, he reckons he's now filled in all the paperwork, highly doubtful as I haven't signed anything! I'll keep you posted on what happens, I just want my daughter to be happy Xx
Why not go to the police? Surely this is fraud?
horrified for you that you've lost £400. Do you know that filing a C100 form costs just £200? You can fill it out yourself and represent yourself in court (called Litigant in Person) and the judge should take you no less seriously. My DP has been doing it for years. It's actually far better to represent yourself rather than have a solicitor or applying to have a MF speak for you because if you are represented you aren't allowed to speak at all and if there's a point you feel needs to be made that your representative isn't aware of it can get very frustrating.
If, however, you do feel that you need a MF there is a list of credited ones on the Families Need Fathers website. MF's should not be charging, it is voluntary. If they ask for money (other than court fees) report them to the site and they will be removed from the list.
He's on that list, right at the bottom, I've just looked on his facebook page and I'm not the only one he's done this to
Report him to the site and get him removed - he has to be stopped from robbing people.
Definitely report. Perhaps if you tell him you are reporting him he might refund you.
There was a thread a few weeks back about MFs. Most of the regular family lawyers on here posted warnings about them but of course there were a few MFs on the thread who were very negative towards the lawyers and said how much better MFs were. Just goes to show......
I went through all that with him last week when he didn't show up twice for a meeting! I'm hoping karma will get him and bite him like a bitch! I'll try and get my money back, I'll keep you all posted on what happens, thank you all again for taking the time to read my post xxxx
yes we warned people as they are enirely unregulated though they are unfortunately allowed to charge people. they are not [save in rare circumstances] allowed to speak on a litigant's behalf contrary to what was suggested above.
it is a con and you should report them to whichever website they are on as well as Trading Standards
ps I know that the current chair of the Bar Maura McGowan would also be very interested in knowing the details of your case if you would like to email her as the Bar is very concerned about the lack of regulation of MFs
Hi babybarrister, I wish I'd checked on here and done more research before handing any money over, further research reveals he was made bankrupt less than 2 years ago yet claims he is running the 'company'? I though this wasn't allowed? Anyway, I digress, I will email her all the details, its absurd that this is allowed to continue, unregulated and without any help from the police if you get scammed by someone claiming to be a mf, I'm happy to pay people for work they do for me but expect them to actually do the job!
Also, I left a note on his company facebook page which he didn't like so he's deleted the facebook page and his website! Just goes to show what a coward he is!
I would not negotiate for him to carry on working for you under any circumstances. You would be better doing it entirely on your own if you cannot afford a qualified and regulated solicitor rather than using this person.
You can call the court to see if he has actually filed anything. It doesn't sound like it, but you could check.
But generally, I second/third the others on here who have said to just do the form filling yourself. The notes that come with the forms explain what you have to do and are drafted with non-lawyers in mind.
I called the courts 2 weeks ago and nothing had been filed, he is insisting that it was filed on May 2nd! I'll call them again in the morning before I call the police, he has to be stopped, its hard enough fighting one person for your child's rights, fighting 2 different people makes it ten times harder. I'll be filling in the forms myself and filing them with the courts tomorrow afternoon, thanks all xx
A MK can't file papers...if he told you he would he doesn't know what he is talking about. A MK can't act as your agent, nor can they litigate on your behalf or have automatic rights of audience.
Assuming you signed a contract with him you can likely him sue him under breach of contract.
Sorry to hear about your experience - there are bad McKenzie Friends as there are bad solicitors and barristers (although I would add that the `regulation' such legal professionals undergo means just about nothing).
Without playing the hindsight game it's always worth asking for references and the background of anyone who is going to help you in court. The McKenzie Friend world is very small (it's something I do) and someone doing this sort of thing gets known very quickly. It's generally good to be as involved in your own case as much as possible when you have a MF (as you're going to be speaking for yourself in court any way) and as others will point out we don't have the right to conduct litigation or act as an agent for you.
I am a member of FNF too. Call them and let them know (they've just moved offices though). Or PM me - this sort of thing should not happen and I'd be happy to assist.
sorry lostdad but regulation most certainly DOES mean something - so does insurance!!!
if I did this, I would be struck off - and rightly so
He's committed fraud and stolen money from you. Definitely report him to the police.
Thanks for the info lostdad, unfortunately I'm not his only victim, I've spoken to the police who put me in touch with trading standards as apparently its not a criminal offence but a civil matter! nice that they're looking after the citizens of this country who have paid taxes for years to pay their wages! It just feels like he's gotten away with it Scott free.
I've emailed fnf to have him removed from their list, I'll let you know if anything happens on that front, in the meantime, I now have two battles to fight, instead of just concentrating on my daughter. Sick man, needs to be locked up.
Sorry babybarrister but regulation means nothing.
There have been precisely zero lawyers penalised by Resolution since it has been existed. Furthermore I can confirm that someone complain about a solictor they will likely be told that they will not be informed of the progress of the complaint nor the outcome (although sometimes they may redress outrageous fees somewhat - my other half is currently working on such as case as a MK...and includes figures plucked out of the air, no itemisation of bills and work not carried out).
When it comes to the the Law Society this sort of thing (http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/litigants-in-person/) is routinely ignored: The people I have assisted have been lied to, bullied (well...attempts to do so), making false claims (such as implying orders have been made when they haven't) and acting without instruction. These particular activities are also mentioned in the SRA Code.
In my humble opinion I would advise anyone who thinks that regulation by the SRA, Resolution, etc means anything ask someone who has made a complaint to them and/or gone through a court case.
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