Saturday, October 18, 2008

Guidance: McKenzie Friends Amendment

Following the recent decision of Munby J in the case Re N (A child) (McKenzie Friend: Rights of Audience)[2008]EWHC 2042(Fam), I covered in this post the President of the Family Division in England & Wales has amended the section in the President’s Guidance: McKenzie Friends of 14th April 2008 headed “Rights of Audience.”

To recap, in England & Wales a litigant in person may be accompanied by a McKenzie Friend to a court hearing for the purpose of assisting them in matters such as taking notes, organising the documents, and quietly making suggestions. A McKenzie Friend has no right to address the court.

The amended section now reads;

• Sections 27 and 28 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (the Act) respectively govern rights of audience and the right to conduct litigation. They provide the court with a discretionary power to grant unqualified persons, including MFs, such rights in relation to particular proceedings.

• While the court should be slow to grant any application under s.27 or s.28 of the Act from a MF, it should be prepared to do so for good reason bearing in mind the general objective set out in section 17(1) and the general principle set out in section 17(3) of the Act and all the circumstances of the case. Such circumstances are likely to vary greatly: see paragraphs 40-42 of the judgment of Munby J. in Re N (A child) (McKenzie Friend: Rights of Audience)[2008]EWHC 2042(Fam).

• If the litigant in person wishes the MF to be granted a right of audience or the right to conduct the litigation, an application must be made at the start of the hearing.

The President’s Guidance: McKenzie Friends of 14th October 2008 is here.

Thanks to Current Awareness for the information and link.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008 © Rosemary Slessor

Back to TOP