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


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.

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.

Dear Jeff, Thank you very much for the notes and assisting me today. I'm very grateful to you for your support and advice. I am so glad that you were with me. You helped me get the result I hoped for.
– Mrs M. (Hampshire)
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)
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Colin from the bottom of my heart for his assistance with this case. Colin has been a rock for me and his advice and guidance has been flawless throughout. Without his help I could not have reached the agreement and result that has been achieved today. Thank you so much to Colin and Family Law Decisions for helping me conclude what has been the worst two years of my life. Finally I can move on with my beloved son firmly by my side. The weight that has been lifted from my shoulders today I cannot begin to describe.

Once again I am indebted to the support that Colin has given.
– Mr H. (Birmingham)
I spent approximately 18 months working with Colin as a McKenzie friend.
Before working with Colin I had appointed a solicitor and attended family court on two occasions.  Each of these hearings was confusing and frustrating due to the fact that all communication was done between the solicitors involved. Decisions were made by solicitors based on very little understanding of the facts. The process was aimed more at fighting the other party than it was at achieving anything positive by way of contact with my daughter.
 
I contacted Colin in an attempt to remove the adversarial approach from my case and to help me understand a legal situation that was out of control.
From my initial meeting with Colin it was obvious that he knew more about Family Law than any solicitor I had talked with and that he had a constructive approach to arriving at a workable solution.
Colin explained to me in detail how my case was likely to unfold. He outlined what contact was likely to be agreed and helped me to set workable expectations. At each stage of the court process Colin removed all the unnecessary legal details and simplified what had previously been a confused legal battle in to something that was simple to understand and much less stressful to manage. We worked together, making it possible to clarify things for the court, welfare officers and the other party.
Colin focused on what needed to be done to increase contact with my daughter, he was always available to address any concerns or issues that I had and to provide guidance with any court paperwork.
At each hearing Colin sought to find common ground between both parties rather than continuing the arguments that my previous solicitor had perpetuated. This achieved an increase in contact where previously no progress had been made for almost a year.
The depth of practical experience that Colin has, and his positive, constructive approach helped me to arrive at a situation where the other party agreed to much more contact than I would have achieved if I had continued with a solicitor. At the same time Colin kept me focused on my daughter rather than on the other party.
Colin makes Family Law work for families.
– Mr H. (Leicestershire)
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)