Our McKenzie Friends


Jeff Botterill

F.Inst.Pa - Family Law McKenzie Friend & 'Fellow' Paralegal

Jeff has assisted families at court since 2004 as a family law McKenzie Friend. He has a wide experience and a thorough knowledge of children proceedings in all manner of issues from child caring arrangements to child abduction, at Family Proceedings Courts up to the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

He has been involved successfully in hundreds of cases throughout England & Wales, including many highly complex cases. Jeff assists with drafting position statements, skeleton arguments and written submissions on behalf of clients that have been described as "excellent" and "beautifully crafted" by senior judges and his conduct in court as "exemplary" and "impeccable" by Lord Justices' of the Court of Appeal.

Many of Jeff's cases are by way of recommendation of satisfied clients and he endeavours to make sure parents and indirectly their children have as short and as successful a time in the family law system as circumstances allow. Plenty of his clients are of means but choose to use his services because of his expertise and straightforward manner.

Jeff also assists in financial remedy cases offering a knowledgeable and practical approach to financial matters, he is a 'Fellow' of the Institute of Paralegals. Jeff has completed the Family Law & Child Law LLB modules.

Colin Brealey

F.Inst.Pa - Family Law McKenzie Friend & 'Fellow' Paralegal

Colin Brealey has helped families throughout England & Wales at all levels of Court, since 2008. This amounts to hundreds of cases, heard at Family Proceedings Courts, County Courts, the Central Family Court and Royal Courts of Justice.

His objective is to help families gain positive outcomes for their children and the family as a whole, to reduce the time, stress and cost of lengthy court proceedings in family law. His advice is practical and informed, and gained from considerable experience.

He has been involved in many cases where, with common sense and a child focused approach, he has helped parents reach a settlement and avoid unnecessary conflict by assisting them agree 'Consent Orders' which makes a return to court less likely. Where agreement isn't possible, he help parents put forward child focused and reasonable arguments.

Colin Brealey possesses in-depth knowledge and experience of children matters including post separation living arrangements, contact disputes, domestic violence, cases where false allegations persist, those including disputed paternity, and disagreements over day-to-day matters which affect children's lives.

He also has experience in public family law and have been successful in helping grandparents and other kinship carers obtain Special Guardianship Orders to avoid children of the family being placed in care.

He regularly receives recognition from the judiciary for his assistance at Court in achieving child focused outcomes. He works closely with a national shared parenting charity and attends regular training courses provided by a regional Family Justice Board. Colin is a 'Fellow' of the Institute of Paralegals.

Stefanie Alvarez

BPTC & Joint Honours Law Degree - Family Law McKenzie Friend


Stefanie completed a joint-honours degree in law with philosophy and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2017. During her studies, Stefanie successfully completed family law modules and developed a passion for family law.

Her approach is practical and pragmatic with the goal to help families as best she can through the family legal system.

Alongside her studies, Stefanie carried out mini-internships at family law solicitors firm and barristers chambers where she gained a practical insight into family law, including private children proceedings.

Not only does she have experience with the U.K. family legal system but has previously interned in Colombia where she worked with vulnerable children and oversaw family cases at the Palace of Justice.

At present Stefanie is also on the board of trustees for a women's charity who deal with family-related matters.

Christine Glover

BA (Hons) - Family Law McKenzie Friend

Chris(tine) became a McKenzie Friend in 2003 and in that role has helped scores of parent with their children following divorce or separation. Many of these cases were concluded with a ‘consent order’, avoiding lengthy and protracted proceedings.

Where a consent order was not possible, Chris(tine) was able to give support and advice throughout the proceedings, helping keep papers in order, taking notes during hearings and offering suggestions to enable the litigant in person to manage and present their own case. Chris(tine) has often been commended in court by Judges for her assistance and her drafting of statements. She has assisted in all levels of court from Magistrates to County Court, to High Court and occasionally in the Court of Appeal in London.

Early in 2004, Chris(tine) became involved with a leading national shared parenting charity, becoming first a trustee (2005-2010) and eventually Chair, from 2010-2014. During this period, she wrote a book (now out of print), called “Give ‘Em Some LIP – a handbook for the Litigant in Person”, which was published by the charity. She also taught one day seminars on how to present both yourself and your case in the family courts. As a volunteer on the charity’s helpline, she not only answered calls from often desperate parents, but she also provided part of the training to prospective helpline volunteers.

From 2007-2014, Chris(tine) was invited to become a member of the Family Procedure Rule Committee (FPRC) as their lay advisor. The Committee, chaired by the President of the Family Division, is the body responsible for creating the rules used in the family courts and her role involved making those rules more accessible to the litigant in person. The rules are published in the tome known as ‘the Red Book’. She was the first person to take up this role within the Committee.

Please take a moment to look at the page of testimonials from a few of the many success stories.


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Affordable high quality support Family Law Decisions McKenzie Friend

As your McKenzie Friend we will ensure before and at Court you are fully prepared for proceedings whether in children matters or finances. Most often we will provide a Position Statement which will help you put your argument forward in the most effective way for your case. With our assistance a well drafted Position Statement that is succinct and relevant will usually greatly assist you to make progress in your case.

We can meet you before you make final decisions about how you wish to proceed and give you information and family law advice that will help you make the best decision in the circumstances for you and your children. It is far better to start on the right path based on good advice and experience than make mistakes large and small along the way.

When you are at Court as your McKenzie Friend we will provide support and advice, perhaps assisting with negotiations outside of the Court as you require. In Court we will sit next to you and will have briefed you thoroughly regarding what to expect. We will remind you of important points you wish to inform the Court and provide advice on queries which may arise in Court. We will provide information on Points of law and provide questions you may wish to ask witnesses, assist with Submissions and consider Orders that may be drawn up by the parties themselves.

The moral support, taking notes and helping with Court documents are some of the other matters we can assist you with. With the court's permission (rights of audience (ROA)) we may act as your lay advocate, representing you in court. This may be allowed by the court in cases (but not confined to) where a party has difficulty representing themselves due to a disability or there are serious allegations.

Undoubtedly we will make the whole process far easier for you and crucially help you to achieve the best result you can bearing in mind the circumstances.

Hi Jeff, Just to say thankyou for your support at the hearing your advice was really helpful and your knowledge in legal matters was very useful.
– Ms L. (London)
Mr Jeff Botterill has assisted us in a family Court matter as our McKenzie friend. We obtained Jeff's details through Families Need Fathers website and have found the advice, support and loyalty to be exemplary.

When we began in the Family Courts we were paying for legal representation in the form of various Solicitors and Barristers, some progress was made but this took some 2 years to achieve at extortionate costs to us.

We approached Jeff to enquire whether he would be able to assist us in the continuing family matter and Jeff confirmed his terms and conditions to us from the outset, we were very happy with all of the details that Jeff passed over to us and we were pleased to have his support.

Jeff has been a lifesaver. Literally. Jeff's knowledge of the process that we have been going through is comprehensive and moreover, Jeff has a unique insight into our particular circumstances and has, on many occasions, offered us his support and advice on how to deal with matters that surround the Court case. This has proved invaluable and has helped us both cope with the process on many occasions.

Jeff's integrity and honesty are outstanding, he is a man amongst men. Jeff had complete compassion for our situation. Jeff has a keen eye for details and is extremely prompt with his responses - which has helped us cope with some stressful situations.

Our only regret is that we did not know of Jeff's existence when our Court proceedings began - we are completely certain that his involvement from the start would have benefitted the matter a great deal and not to mention, save us a considerable amount of money that we had to pay for legal representation.

We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Jeff to anyone.
– Mr & Mrs H. (Cheshire)
I used Colin Brealey McKenzie Friend for my recent court appearances in relation to seeing my son again, as contact had stopped.
Thanks to Colin and his in depth knowledge of this particular field of family law I was able to get a child arrangements order for regular contact with my son with no risk of my sons mother interfering.
I highly recommend Colin Brealey and his services and also Families Need Fathers, a charity who put me in touch with Mr Brealey.
Many Thanks for your support over the last 6 months.
– Mr A. (Leicestershire)
My Father left me in Colin’s capable hands when he had to leave me to go abroad for 12 months on business.
After 18 months of sky high legal fees that I could no longer afford, I had no choice but to represent myself and take on my former husbands’ London based legal team with the help of Colin Brealey. This was a hugely daunting task but one that I immediately felt was attainable with the help of Colin. Colin gave me the confidence and support that I needed to stand in Court and fight for myself and my children.
I can only describe my marriage and my divorce as something out of a horror movie. My divorce was a hugely complex case, extending over 3 years with countless files of litigation including 2 Non Molestation Orders and an extensive Police chronology. The litigation included details of the domestic violence I endured, my former husband’s drug and alcohol addiction, children’s care issues, complex financials and extensive Police involvement.
Colin took it all in his stride and took time to read through the extensive history and made sure he was familiar with all the previous orders and applications. Colin assisted me at all times in the preparation of applications on email and over the phone, and in person at all the numerous hearings.
Colin always arrived early prior to the hearings which gave me great comfort as it allowed us time to meet and talk through everything before we went in. I was always terribly nervous and anxious but Colin was great at calming me and preparing me and focusing me for each hearing, particularly when I was facing counsel.
As well as helping me with all the litigation and hearings. Colin would always contact me to hear how any meetings went with the Police as well as when the children spent time with their appointed guardian.
Sadly, my divorce was one of threat and violence. Although I had panic buttons in my home - If I was ever in fear or panic, then I knew I could call Colin for help or advice 24/7.
Colin was, and continued to be, a huge support to me and my family throughout the ongoing proceedings. Colin has a vast knowledge and extensive experience in the legal field. As well as this, Colin has been an emotional support to me through the most painful and traumatic years of my life.
– Ms G. (Berkshire)
Jeff thank you so much for today and all your help and advice I am over the moon with the outcome and couldn't of done it without you you made me feel at ease and confident in everything I was doing and I can not thank you enough for helping me through today. Hope you have a lovely evening and like I said thank you again.
– Mr D. (London)