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McKenzie Friend

A McKenzie Friend (MF) is someone who is not trained or qualified to act as a professional lawyer, but is permitted to attend court with an unrepresented litigant (a litigant in person or LIP) in order to provide moral and practical support, help them organise and find relevant documents when needed, and take notes. They do not have a right of audience, but they can, in exceptional circumstances, be permitted by the judge to speak on behalf of the LIP.

The name comes from a case, McKenzie v McKenzie [1971] P 33, in which, as it happens, the friend was a barrister but from another jurisdiction (Australia) and so had no right of audience.

In 2010 the senior courts issued practice guidance on what MFs can and can’t do in court: see Practice Guidance (McKenzie Friends: Civil and Family Courts) [2010] 1 WLR 1881.

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