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Bad Mckenzie Friend!

(151 Posts)
brokemybank Fri 31-May-13 15:18:51

Hi all,

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.

brokemybank Mon 25-Apr-16 21:11:42

She has had more than just my payment into her bank account - on the website where i found the conman he said it was a joint business with his wife. She may not have been the person i spoke to or the person charged with a crime, but as i (and others) see it, she has been fully aware of the fraud committed by her husband.

babybarrister Mon 25-Apr-16 15:24:35

it is possible but not easy to go after her but you can see what you are dealing with ....

Pisssssedofff Mon 25-Apr-16 15:20:18

Has she done anything wrong though ?

brokemybank Mon 25-Apr-16 14:07:38

He asked to be paid into his wifes account so it may be worth going after her perhaps?

babybarrister Mon 25-Apr-16 11:12:18

yes - no point suing a man of straw ....

I rather suspect given his general dishonesty coupled with some knowledge of the law, that you will find that there are no assets in his name at all and they are all in someone else's ....

lostdad Mon 25-Apr-16 10:13:34

Pisssssedofff is right - if someone doesn't have money (and proves it!) a court won't make an order it knows can't work. If a court does make an order and someone decides not to pay the cost of enforcement will be for you to pay too.

That said, small claims stuff online has a small fee so it is worth checking how much you are claiming compared to how much it will cost you (it is a sliding scale) to see if it is worth it.

I have had clients not pay for work in the past and there comes a point where I just write off the amount because it isn't worth the extra time, money and effort to pursue it.

Pisssssedofff Sun 24-Apr-16 18:03:36

The problem with going to the small claims is that if they have t got the money you won't be getting it back and you're further out of pocket for those costs too

lostdad Sun 24-Apr-16 16:55:32

My partner (a McKenzie Friend, specialises in finances, is a paralegal and has worked in courts all the way up to the Royal Courts of Justice has been involved in financial dispute cases with other McKenzie Friends).

She is the expert but...yes. It is possible to make an application claim costs back.

Your first consideration would be to seek a Money Claim Online. It's automated - most claims are settled before a court is involved but you may help if there is no settlement.

brokemybank Sat 23-Apr-16 18:28:35

He was sentenced to 3 years, i got nothing back, i will go down the small claims route when i have time, this whole thing has been extremely stressful from start to finish. I hope no has to go through what i and the others scammed by this man went through

Pisssssedofff Sat 16-Apr-16 18:16:57

Is that to me ? No I don't know where to start tbh

Have you been able to try and get your costs back from him?

Pisssssedofff Fri 15-Apr-16 17:39:10

I'm in exactly the same position .... I have in writing that a piece of work I paid for will be sent to me and it hasn't appeared. Can I do anything ?

wolfslayer Wed 13-Apr-16 13:19:17

Hi ! I am not sure if this matter is still current because on topic index its dated 07/04/16 but is showing up 13 may13 on actual message. I am sorry to hear of your predicament. A McKenzie Friend can represent someone in judges chambers if the judge gives his position. This is because such work
Is" reserved work" usually carried out by solicitors or their briefs. A McKenzie friend can be a volunteer but can be someone you pay to represent you,, they can charge around £600.00. Remember they need the courts permission.
This person is probably a fraudster. you should report the matter to the police. If you paid him via a bank account they may be able to trace him electronically as he would have had to have given the bank proof of identity to have an account. Regarding the civil law you have a contract the person has breached. you have six years to bring a claim from the date of your agreement with him. if you can ID him find out if he has any assets. If he does obtain a County Court Judgement against him @ transfer to High Court to enforce. The high court bailiffs will either get him to pay or will seize his assets. They will also whack him with their charges which will cost him at approx £500.00 Hope this is of help.

wolfslayer Wed 13-Apr-16 13:12:25

Hi ! I am not sure if this matter is still current because on topic index its dated 07/04/16 but is showing up 31may13 on actual message. I am sorry to hear of your predicament. A McKenzie Friend can represent someone in judges chambers if the judge gives his position. This is because such work
Is" reserved work" usually carried out by solicitors or their briefs. A McKenzie friend can be a volunteer but can be someone you pay to represent you,, they can charge around £600.00. Remember they need the courts permission.
This person is probably a fraudster. you should report the matter to the police. If you paid him via a bank account they may be able to trace him electronically as he would have had to have given the bank proof of identity to have an account. Regarding the civil law you have a contract the person has breached. you have six years to bring a claim from the date of your agreement with him. if you can ID him find out if he has any assets. If he does obtain a County Court Judgement against him @ transfer to High Court to enforce. The high court bailiffs will either get him to pay or will seize his assets. They will also whack him with their charges which will cost him at approx £500.00 Hope this is of help.

brokemybank Thu 07-Apr-16 15:34:57

Hi all, yes the man in the article is indeed the one who this thread is about. I hope legislation is now put in place, or at least discussed, about the kind of service he was offering and some kind of regulating body is formed so there is registration and insurance for mackenzie friends. I realise this will impact on the costs of such services but i ended up losing nearly £800 because of what happened.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment and message me and to all the other victims that came forward as a result. We may not get that time or money back but for now Martin Wiliamson has lost his freedom and any good reputation that he may have had.

STIDW Tue 08-Sep-15 20:30:06

Think it was the guy in my link on this this thread;

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/legal_matters/2454339-Bad-McKenzie-Friend-sentenced-to-3-years-in-jail

Sazzarooo Sun 06-Sep-15 10:00:43

brokemybank - its ages since this thread was contributed to - but I need to know the name of the Mckenzie's friend that you are referring to please?

AnnoiniMoose Mon 16-Feb-15 23:56:41

Pre-trial formalities against MW began with pleas today.

m8412 Mon 16-Feb-15 11:26:09

Hello, have you reported this to trading standards? I advise that you do asap, there number is 03454 04 05 06

lostdad Mon 26-Jan-15 12:59:08

Solicitors and barristers are only human. You get good and bad, assidious and lazy, etc. like you get everywhere else.

If I had to guess why bundles or not produced - or exclude items - I would say that in most cases it is a case of laziness rather than malice or dishonesty.

It's common for solicitors to meet the same people over and over again, with most of the legwork done before a hearing. If you are a solicitor and know the other party's one chances are you know how they work, can agree things and I suspect a lot of the paperwork seems superfluous as there are unlikely to be many surprises. In the same way it's common for a litigant in person to be faced with a bundle if the other party IS represented - the solicitor working on the principle that the LiP knows nothing about the process.

Many of the people I assist tend to be shocked that I can often get their cases moving forward quickly for the aboves reasons. A solicitor is often happy to `go with the flow' and won't make waves because it's a career for them...would you want to risk incurring the professonal wrath of a judge seeing on a regular basis? Or just play your part? For LiPs it's more a case of being told that `nothing can be done' and accepting that because they don't know otherwise. Frequently people say `I wish I'd found you sooner' or `There has been more progress in the last month than there was in the whole of last year'.

FlowerFairy2014 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:39:16

Bundles point above is interesting. I have never had a case where anyone has ever left things out of bundles but I have only done cases where both sides have solicitors and in commercial law so it sounds like another world in the family courts with unrepresented people and people not being strictly above board. Where did honesty go amongst everyone? You would have thought as a matter of personal moral code litigants in person as much as solicitors would play by the book.

FlowerFairy2014 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:38:05

yes do check people out. I saw just today someone pretended to be a solicitor, was even on the Law Society find a solicitor website and the victim's solicitor is suing the Law Society for allowing someone who is not a solicitor to appear as one on their website. If you use a real solicitor then even if the solicitor goes bankrupt or runs abroad with your money the whole legal profession picks up the tab which is why for those who can afford us we are a fairly safe bet.

vanillalate Thu 22-Jan-15 13:07:13

Omg! I was just get in touch with him, and was on the phone yesterday! And he said that he will send me a link so I can transfer the money to him!

brokemybank Sat 30-Aug-14 15:05:48

Hi all, just a quick update for you, i never got my money back from the scammer, i refuse to call him a mckenzie friend as i feel this would be an insult to to genuine mckenzie friends out there who help people! I have been keeping my eye on him and can see that he is now conning people out of money for kids parties. The fact that he was arrested last year has not deterred him one bit. I know certain agencies are underfunded and maybe understaffed but when will this end? Will he ever be punished for causing so much misery?

lostdad Wed 09-Jul-14 11:21:42

Jane Parker - I'll give you a concrete example. Of all the final hearings I have ever been involved I have only been involved in one that didn't involve the other party acting to frustrate bundle preparation in some shape or form.

Amongst other things this has included refusing to prepare one, excluding all the evidence of the other party, excluding parts of the evidence of the other party, ignoring deadlines, producing documents to suggest the litigant in person is at fault, ignoring the LIP completely and submitting bundles to the court. And much more.

Truth be told I expect this so I tend to advise my clients not to focus on this sort of thing. It makes no difference if the above is undertaken as a result of malice, incompetence or a combination of both because you're there to argue the case of the best interests of the child and not the motivations of a `professional' who has ignored Practice Direction, SRA guidelines, Resolution guidelines, etc.

As such as a matter of course I assist my clients to produce their own bundles. It's the only way to guarantee they will have evidence in chief to support their argument. Yes, the risk is that the court will be distinctly unamused by having to juggle two bundles but in my experience the risk that failing to do so and turning up for a contested hearing with nothing to support your arguments is far greater.

I have met a great many solicitors and barristers I have the utmost respect for - good, intelligent and incisive people who have clearly done the best for their clients. I've also met others who I would describe in a somewhat different manner.

I would like to think that my conduct in court is borne out by the the reception I have received in my work. I have been commended by the court, narrowed issues with the other party' representation to the point of being able to avoid contested hearings, drafted orders at the court's request and had rights of audience in courts at various levels.

As for using McKenzie Friends - as I have said before, if they are regulated to the same standard lawyers are I'd have little faith in any such scheme. Whether you are using a solicitor, barrister or McKenzie Friend any client should be ready to ask for references, a CV and ask about their background before engaging their services.

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