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.

I used Jeff Botterill as my Mckenzie Friend for my case. After experiencing the expense of using a solicitor the initial attraction of using a Mckenzie Friend was the price, however the advice and support I received was invaluable.

Going to court is a nerve racking experience in any situation and representing yourself seems like an extremely daunting task, questions like what to prepare? where to stand? what to say? Were just a few of the things I was concerned about but having Jeff with me gave me the knowledge and confidence to successfully represent myself.

I am now enjoying regular and increasing access to my daughter
– Mr O. (Essex)
Hi Jeff, I would just like to thank you for all the help you have given me it has been truly invaluable.
I hope I never have to employ you again, but knowing her I probably will!
– Mr C. (London)
Jeff Botterill was my McKenzie friend for a Leave to Remove from the Jurisdiction hearing which I was opposing. I was very impressed at the quality of service Jeff provided. He helped prepare a Position Statement to present to my ex-wife's solicitor for negotiation in advance of the final hearing. He was very well prepared for the 2 court appearances (a further directions and a final hearing) and provided case history which won me my request for a Shared Residence Order, which on the advice of her legal team, had been turned down by my ex-wife when presented in the position statement. I think her legal team was rather surprised by the knowledge and case notes that Jeff had provided me in court.

His guidance and support throughout the court hearings was excellent. He put me at ease and gave me the confidence to represent myself. His knowledge of the law and the case history surrounding leave to remove exceeded any that I had heard from the two solicitors that I had used. He is also passionate about the need for both parents in the lives of their children. I would highly recommend Jeff to anyone else looking for a McKenzie friend.
– Mr W. (London)
Court proceedings between my son's mother and me had been ongoing for a year before I contacted Family Law Decisions. The case had become quite complex, with social services, a legal guardian, and other expert witnesses becoming involved. The way things were going, there was a distinct possibility that I would lose touch with my son. With the help of Family Law Decisions over the past year, I have been able to turn my case around and my application for Parental Responsibility and Shared Residence has now been ordered.

Family Law Decisions provided me with a McKenzie friend (Jeff Botterill), advice on the process, help working with the various experts, and other ongoing support, maintaining their child-focused ethos throughout. They clearly have extensive experience of the family law process, and they are sensitive to the effects that it all can have on a 'litigant in person'. I am hugely grateful to the support that Family Law Decisions have provided in helping me stay in touch with my son, I could not have done it without them. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone seeking a child-focused resolution.
– Dr P. (Surrey)
Jeff, good luck for the future. You're a credit to what you do, very skilled and kind. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.
– Mr L. (Norfolk)