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McKenzie Friend near me - Andrew Weeden

McKenzie Friend near me – Andrew Weeden

Family and Private Law Children

Regulated Paralegal with the Professional Paralegal Register

Andrew carries a Practicing Certificate in Family Law

A McKenzie Friend is someone you nominate to bring to court hearings for moral support and assist you with any administrative duties. A McKenzie Friend does not need to have any legal qualifications. They are considered by the court as a lay person with no participation rights except to accompany you.

The court has the power to reject your McKenzie Friend and ask them to leave the hearing, as does the other party have the right to object to a McKenzie Friend present, although this only happens occasionally.

Your McKenzie Friend must have no personal interest in your case…family members, for example.

If you need additional support with managing the court papers and dealing with court business, you can ask the court if a family member can help you as your litigation friend.

“If you are looking for a McKenzie Friend, you are most likely to be conducting the litigation of your case yourself, as what is known as a litigant in person. Managing deadlines and knowing what to file and how to file and serve it are not skills any of us are born with. On top of the stress of going through the family court, there is all the administration that comes with it.”

A McKenzie Friend, under Practice Direction 12G (PD12G), can be shown all the papers relating to your case. And therefore, they can assist you in understanding what the court paperwork means and how best to deal with it.

Many (but not all) professional McKenzie Friends became MFs following having been through the court process themselves at some stage. Experiencing court gives some insight into what it is like for an unrepresented party to go through a court case. This is generally helpful, but beware that it can also be a binding curse for some McKenzie Friends. No two cases are the same. So, applying a one-size-fits-all approach is never the best practice when assisting with cases.

Most importantly, avoid any McKenzie Friend that makes promises as to expected outcomes; or makes statements to the effect that they can conduct the litigation (for example, writing to the other party or their legal representatives) or that they will be able to speak to the judge on your behalf. No McKenzie Friend can conduct litigation, address the court or take payments on account from you at any time. It is prohibited under the Legal Services Act 2007 section 12, as these are reserved activities that only a solicitor or chartered legal executive can undertake for example.

You can ask the judge for your McKenzie Friend to be granted rights of audience and/or rights to conduct the litigation. You must show good reasons why you cannot perform these duties yourself. Some parties with mental health diagnoses may have a good reason, but there is no guarantee. And if the court you are attending has had any previously bad experiences with McKenzie Friends (or, more specifically, ‘your’ McKenzie Friend), the court will be slow to agree to your request.

“This does not mean that a McKenzie Friend has no value. The value comes from having support in court. Your McKenzie Friend can take notes for you, sit in on prehearing discussions, and quietly advise you in the hearing so that you can respond to the judge. They can help you understand the paperwork and be a second pair of eyes and ears…taking the pressure off you.”

Most McKenzie Friends are very professional and knowledgeable; some have formal legal qualifications as well. Andrew Weeden, in addition to being a professional McKenzie Friend, is also a regulated paralegal and carries a practicing certificate in family law. He holds professional indemnity insurance, and although paralegals must attend court as McKenzie Friends, many judges understand that qualified paralegals are legally savvy to a certain degree, and therefore this provides the court with some assurance that the paralegal will uphold the duties to the court and remain objective and impartial; and that the paralegal will know court etiquette and protocols.

As a paralegal, Andrew is frequently granted rights of audience and/or litigation by judges and in those circumstances, Andrew is often entrusted with drafting the orders. Working for McKenzie Law Partners, a law firm specialising in private law children cases, high conflict matters, domestic abuse and parental alienation cases, Andrew has the skills to provide lawyer-level advice and legal services.

Some of the areas in which we can support you –

Drafting witness statements
Drafting position statements
Putting together court bundles
Drafting applications and supporting statements (for you to submit)
Legal advice
Advising on court papers and professional reports
Attending court with you

Areas of Children Law covered –

C100 Private law child arrangements
C79 Enforcement of a breached court order
C63 Declaration of parentage
C1 Permission applications
C2 supplementary applications within proceedings
Prohibited steps orders
Specific issues orders
Non-molestation orders
Pre-separation advice
Child-focused considerations

If your case involves public law care proceedings and you are a parent with parental responsibility, you will be entitled to legal aid, and you should speak with your local social services. They will likely have a list of solicitors who offer legal aid. You will not require the services of a McKenzie Friend.

So that we can provide you with the support your case needs, McKenzie Law Partners will require clients to sign our terms of business. We cannot read any court papers without signed terms being agreed upon in advance.

Court areas covered –

Cambridgeshire | e.g., Cambridge, Peterborough
Norfolk | e.g., King’s Lynn, Norwich
Bedfordshire | e.g., Bedford, Luton
Hertfordshire | e.g., Hertford, Watford
Suffolk | e.g., Colchester
London | e.g., East London, Barnet Central
Kent | e.g., Dartford, Medway, Canterbury
South Eastern Circuit Courts.

#childarrangements #familylaw #mckenziefriend #paralegaladvocate