Frequently Asked Questions

Are you practising lawyers?

No. Although we may have legal qualifications and may be non-practising lawyers and/or have other important professional qualifications that are highly valued in the family law system. We do have many years of hands on experience within the family law courts in a variety of important roles. Also, our knowledge is supplemented from extensive experience of assisting others through the family law system over many years. We may also have personal experience of the system. We know what works and our aim is to get you through the system successfully and as quickly as possible in the circumstances.

Do you have access to legal authorities, books, research and the latest case law?

Yes. We may have similar resources to what many lawyers have and more than some.

What are you going to cost?

Our services are provided on a Fixed Fee basis for the vast majority of our clients which may reduce the hourly rate considerably. Our hourly rate is £58.00 per hour, please see our Fees page and our Terms & Conditions page for further details.

Will you be allowed in to court with me?

Yes. As a McKenzie Friend we will sit next to you in court providing quiet advice and support as necessary.

Can you represent me at court and speak for me?

Only at the discretion of the court can we 'advocate' for you (speak for you in court). This is termed 'Rights of Audience' (ROA) and has to be permitted by the judge. At times permission for a client's McKenzie Friend to have ROA is granted but this does depend on the individual judge and the circumstances of the case. Normally ROA would not be given.

I am nervous, mutter and stumble over my words when in court, can you help?

We can help by providing written notes in court and talking quietly to you when necessary to remind you of points you wanted to make. Most people are understandably nervous; particularly the first time but we will keep you focused and support you. Our well crafted position statements we draft for you will assist in ensuring the court understands your view and aims.

Can you help me with my statement and other documents for court?

Yes. We can assist you in drafting documents such as position and witness statements, skeleton arguments and submissions which may reference relevant case law and other authorities. Judges (e.g. Circuit Judge QC and Lord Justice's) have commented positively e.g. "excellent" "beautifully crafted" regarding our submissions and skeleton arguments on behalf of our clients.

Can I arrange a meeting with you to discuss my case?

Yes. We can offer an assessment and advice session which will allow an in-depth discussion of your case to enable us to give you an informed view of the options available and the risks of any course of action.

I want to limit or stop the other parent spending time with our children, will you help me?

No (generally). We passionately believe in doing what is best for children. Research supports the view that shared parenting and significant parenting time as the circumstances allow are best for children. Unless there are proven or likely to be proven risks of harm to children we will not assist in severely limiting or stopping children's time with another parent.

What should I be aware of when selecting a McKenzie Friend or lawyer

Crucially, know who your McKenzie Friend or lawyer is. You are dealing with your children and personal finances, it is too important to take chances with.

Google their name and ensure there are no skeletons in the cupboard, treat with caution any excuses for negative reports, particularly press reports.

If they do not specialise solely in family law but also list other areas of law then they will simply be a jack of all trades and master of none. Family law is a complex area of law in many respects and nobody is able to provide a thorough service for their clients in family matters if they are regularly involved in other areas of law.

Do not be taken in by websites that say 'We' but do not list and provide details of their McKenzie Friends or lawyers with a summary of their relevant background, experience and qualifications. A lack of openness and transparency could be a warning sign.

Be careful of McKenzie Friends or lawyers who have a large ego, they will be putting themselves first before your case.

Similarly be very careful of those with an axe to grind as their negative attitude could very well affect your case adversely.

We would suggest some caution in choosing a McKenzie Friend whose experience is simply the product of a short course e.g. day course - As it takes time and experience of court outside of your own case to build up sufficient knowledge and ability to assist parent's effectively.

Transparency about fixed fees and hourly rates on websites is also an indication that you are not going to be hit with additional bills.