New warnings issued about the use of McKenzie Friends

Judith Thompson

In a recent story published by The Law Society Gazette, new warnings have been issued at the use of McKenzie friends rather than qualified solicitors.

A couple were wrongly advised that they were permitted to take their child out of England by a McKenzie friend. When the issue was discovered, it was ordered that the child should return to England immediately. 

The Law Society Gazette reported that despite concerns voiced by solicitors, barristers and Judges, there are currently no plans to regulate McKenzie friends.

McKenzie friends are typically legally unqualified persons, who charge for legal advice for people who believe they cannot afford a lawyer.

Judith Thompson, partner at Samuels Solicitors LLP says “with the demise of legal aid and changes a few years back to the way in which no win no fee agreements are used, it can be difficult for people to find affordable legal representation, which has no doubt contributed to the rise of McKenzie friends. Whilst there might be some very good McKenzie friend advisors out there, people need to be aware that if the McKenzie friend provides them with advice which is wrong, they will be unable to take any action against them and will be unlikely to recover any compensation. This is starkly different to what happens if a barrister or solicitor makes a mistake as they are required to hold professional indemnity insurance to compensate clients in these circumstances”.

If you are dealing with a case on your own, and require some legal advice what can you do?  In some cases, we may be able to assist you under the terms of a Conditional (no win no fee) Agreement, provided that your case has good prospects of success. 

In other cases we can agree with you not to charge any legal fees until your matter has been concluded. 

We are also willing to consider other types of flexible funding arrangements, such as payment of manageable monthly instalments towards your legal fees.

To discuss how we can help you with your case, contact us today.