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Mckenzie friend at family court

(8 Posts)
MummyT12 Wed 05-Oct-16 08:06:10

Has anyone used a mckenzie friend to advice them in court?
This is our third time in court and I can no longer afford a barrister.
Wanted to know if anyone has had success with a mckenzie friend? I know I will need to talk but thought it might be useful for legal advice and support?

MrsBertBibby Wed 05-Oct-16 10:27:37

MFs who charge can be a menace, they are uninsured, unregulated, untrained, and often have their own agenda in a highly emotive arena. They owe no duty to you, or to the Court. A judicial study recently concluded paid MFs should be banned.

Frankly, you would do better to take along a level headed friend or family member, who can help you get everything you want to say across. What's the hearing?

Fourormore Wed 05-Oct-16 11:41:10

My experience with MFs has been extremely positive. Set fees, knowledgable and informative without overstepping their boundaries. We have used two different ones and both clearly outlined the limits of what they could do, what training they had had and what come back we would have if we weren't happy. It would be a great shame if MFs were banned, IMO. Without them, we would have been entirely without direction. I agree that regulation would be sensible. That said, the opposition's solicitor is apparently regulated but their behaviour has been dreadful throughout. Not remotely child focused and has actively added to the conflict between parents. Several other professionals have commented on the lack of professionalism but it makes no difference. Twice we've had barristers that have made significant errors that have contributed to orders breaking down.

The whole system needs an overhaul really. The children involved in the cases shouldn't have their chances at a safe and happy life limited by their parent's ability to pay or ability to put a case forward against a barrister who knows all the unspoken rules.

MummyT12 Wed 05-Oct-16 11:42:57

It's a first hearing requested by my ex to vary the current order and a request for further overnight access but there's been further domestic abuse so I'm disagreeing with the request.
Going from having a barrister to doing this on my own is a little scary.

Collaborate Thu 06-Oct-16 01:17:33

You do know that your MF can't speak for you?

MagicChanges Thu 06-Oct-16 01:28:25

Well 2 very different experiences of McK friends - I tend to agree with Mrs.BertB but then someone else had a very positive experience. Yes as collaborate says, are you aware of the limits of McK friends in court - if not I would find out - google will probably tell you all you need to know. They don't have a "voice" in court and can only speak if they are asked a direct question by the judge. But they can advise about court procedure if they are knowledgeable in that respect. As for the opposition's lawyer not being child focused - No they seldom are -they're out to win their client's case, nothing more, nothing less - that's the way the adverserial system works in this country.

There are books on Amazon about being a Litigant in Person (LIP) which is what you're called if you're representing yourself and they can be very helpful. The other thing is that some barristers do a certain amount of pro bono work (free) and I think there is a list of them somewhere - again I'm sure google will have information and you might find one in your area.

FTCarer Mon 10-Oct-16 16:26:17

FYI you have to request the attendance of a MF in writing to the judge well before the hearing.

Also, if unsure about a paid MF, its still not a bad idea to have someone ion court with you to take notes so you can concentrate on listening and responding to the judge.

Fourormore Mon 10-Oct-16 19:32:15

I don't know if the rules have changed or whether they just weren't followed in our case but we've never had to notify anyone except for when we turned up on the day.

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