Should I Use A McKenzie Friend? See What We Advise

Judith Thompson

A fan of Blackpool Football club, Mr Ragozzino, set up a website making various lurid sexual allegations against the football club's owners.

The judge ruled that the allegations amounted to defamation and awarded aggravated (higher) damages to the owners of the football club, partly because of the way Mr Ragozzino had conducted himself during the case, (repeating the defamation) which had been exacerbated by his use of a "McKenzie Friend".

What is a McKenzie Friend?

A McKenzie friend is an individual who assists someone in a case. They can be involved in correspondence, and they can appear and speak in Court, with the Court's permission. A McKenzie friend does not need to have any legal training.

In this recent case, the judge was not at all impressed by the behaviour of Mr Raguzzino's McKenzie Friend, and said that they had poured ‘more fuel on the flames’ of the dispute. 

Should I Use a McKenzie Friend?

This case highlights the danger of using untrained representatives to assist you in Court. Solicitors train for many years in various areas, such as dispute resolution, and are experts in their field. Unfortunately, many McKenzie Friends simply do not have the experience or training to be able to present cases effectively for you. 

In some cases, this will simply mean you will lose (and, almost certainly, be ordered to pay your opponent's costs). In others, such as Mr Ragozzino's case, you could actually end up having to pay more in damages - £41,000 had to be paid in damages in this case. 

What if I can't afford a solicitor?

At Samuels Solicitors, we understand that when you are involved in a dispute, you may not have the funds available to pay a lawyer, particularly if the case involves a debt which is due to you. 

This is why we have developed our own range of flexible funding options, which are designed to help clients with good claims. These flexible funding options can include conditional (no win no fee) arrangements in appropriate cases. 

Contact us today for a free discussion about how we can help you with your case.