How can I become a McKenzie Friend
If you have ever wondered if you need special powers, or legal qualification
s to become a McKenzie Friend, the truth is, no you don’t. The vast majority of McKenzie Friends are self-educated and have learned through their own experiences by going to court themselves, or attended proper training. As a consequence, the abilities of a vast majority of McKenzie Friends are questionable to say the least.
A McKenzie Friend can turn up at court with their ‘client’ and face no questions
as to their abilities, honesty or integrity. It is seen by many as a way to make a quick buck, regardless of the havoc it may cause, or the disaster that their misinformed attempts to help can cause
to their client, who is already emotionally weak and in a very vulnerable position.
The court is very limited in its ability to prevent anyone acting as a McKenzie Friend, and even having sent a McKenzie to prison for fraud as a McKenzie Friend, they have not prevented him from picking up where he left off when he is released.
The key question to ask yourself is, ‘If I go to court with someone to be their McKenzie Friend, will I add value’.
Do you know what applications are possible? Do you know Family Law in detail? Do you know what the court expects from your client? Do you know how to help them present their case properly? Do you understand the court process in all its forms for each type of hearing?
Unless you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to those questions, your help will be limited, and it may well cause your client wasted time, wasted money and a lost case. There are many cases in which thinking on your feet and knowing alternative approaches can save the day.
Simon Walland has been a McKenzie Friend for 17 years and, having been in all levels of court including the Court of Appeal, trained and passed a Law Degree and then been Called to the Bar as a Barrister, was appalled at the incompetence and lack-lustre performance of McKenzie Friends he faced (and some Solicitors too it must be said), that he set up a training programme in 2012 and has trained several hundred people, just like you that have either wanted to become a McKenzie Friend or learn more about the court system to educate themselves for their own cases.
Simon covers everything that he learned to do, and perhaps more importantly things he learned not to do. He has been highly commended in court by many Judges and most importantly by his clients for his conscientious work and knowledgeable approach to court hearings.
If you have some common sense and a willingness to help others, and consider yourself as having a reasonable level of education, you too can learn to become a McKenzie Friend.