A McKenzie friend assists a litigant in person in a court of law in England and Wales. A McKenzie does not need to be legally qualified. The crucial point is that litigants in person are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Legal aid cuts have meant that a growing number of people in need of help are turning to McKenzie friends.
A BBC news report on this topic stated:
“If you were in the desperate position of needing brain surgery, would you be content for someone with no medical training, but who had seen quite a few brain operations, to carry out yours?
Maybe you’d decline the help of the talented amateur.
Let’s face it, there isn’t much of a history of successful brain surgery by non-medics.
Would you be happy to use the services of someone with no legal qualifications, no insurance and who was not part of a regulated body? Well, here the talented amateur has something of a track record.
He or she also has a title – they are your “McKenzie friend”.
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