What is a McKenzie Friend?

This role originated in London in the 1970s when a client named McKenzie was unable to find legal representation before the case went to court, but was assisted by a barrister from Australia, who was unqualified to practise as a barrister in the UK. However, he intended to assist McKenzie by taking notes and suggesting questions. While he was prevented from doing so in the original case, during a later appeal it was ruled that this should have been allowed, which enabled anyone in the UK to provide McKenzie Friend services, as the term became known.



A vital part of the legal system

In short, anyone who provides an unrepresented party with support and guidance during Court proceedings that is not acting as a barrister or solicitor is a McKenzie Friend. As such they are not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and have a number of limitations in terms of what they can do in a Court setting. However, their role has become increasingly important, particularly with the reduction in Legal Aid.

Based in Essex, at JCJ Law we provide McKenzie Friend services across England & Wales.


Hands holding paper family cutout


What a McKenzie Friend CAN do for you:

  • Attend court and provide moral support for litigants in person
  • Take notes and assist with case papers
  • Give advice on any aspect of the conduct of the case

What a McKenzie Friend CANNOT do:

  • Speak in Court (with some exceptional circumstances)
  • Sign documents or papers on your behalf
  • Examine witnesses




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