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.

Having spent thousands of pounds with solicitors and barrister's in court over a battle to see my children, I ran out of money but wanted to continue with the proceedings. I was advised to look for a Mckenzie friend, I found Jeff Botterill. He was honest, clear and very helpful. He produced brilliant statements and on the day of court he gave me lots of support and guidance. I wish I had found Jeff sooner!
– Mr M. (Surrey)
Having been given notice that my ex-partner was applying to the Family Courts to relocate our daughter to Australia, I knew I had a serious, potentially life changing, problem on my hands but I was instantly certain I would be defending myself. Previous experience I had garnered in the courts was nothing short of depressing and had left me eminently reluctant to be legally represented. Aware that various historical incidents provided for a strong defence, I simply did not trust any solicitor to care enough to collate and disclose the wealth of information I had at my disposal in the manner which best suited my case, nor did I have the funds it would have cost me to commission them to do so.

Previous experience had also taught me that attending court is an overwhelming and daunting experience so I was conscious that I needed some form of guidance to see me through to the end. Which is when I found Family Law Decisions and in particular, Jeff Botterill, whom I knew straight away was the person I wanted by my side during the whole process. Jeff is extremely calm and reassuring with a knowledge base that is immediately evident. It also helped to learn that once upon a time he had been in my shoes and could recognise the anguish and anxiety I was feeling.

Jeff Botterill is simply a genius and I’m utterly convinced my life would not be so wonderful now if it were not for him. From the moment he agreed to assist me, I knew I was in great hands and a lot of the tension which inevitably builds up seemed to dissipate there and then. Once we got started, Jeff was great at stripping the emotion away and helping you to focus on what is important and ignoring what is irrelevant, as it is very easy to get caught up in the bitterness and unjust nature of everything. He keeps you thinking straight.
He is also a master at drawing up any court documents that will be required along the way and is exceptional at articulating every point of your defence. I was truly blown away when I saw my initial position statement – It summed up perfectly in 10 or 12 sentences what I had been frustratingly screaming about for years. A work of art.

Long story short, my ex-partner dropped her application completely after the first hearing and I was able to amend the existing contact order we had in place to provide for more time with my daughter at weekends and school holidays. The result is my relationship with my daughter is as good now as it’s ever been and I feel that I have been treated fairly by the courts. This is all thanks to Jeff.

I would recommend Jeff in an instant. He really is a godsend.
– Mr P. (London)
Almost a year ago contact broke down between myself and my ex partner. As a result of this I lost regular and agreeable contact with my now 3yr old son. Although I didn’t want to have to go through the legal channels, after about 3 months this appeared inevitable.

Although I had an idea of what I had to do next with regard to starting legal proceedings I knew I needed help. I visited my local Families Need Fathers meeting and met Mr Colin Brealey who chairs the monthly meetings.

Right from the start I found Colin to be helpful, professional and above all – totally child focussed. Colin advised and continues to advise me, along with many others within the Families Need Fathers meetings. Seeing Colin’s professionalism, I decided to accept his offer of assistance to help me through the legal process as a Mckenzie Friend. - This has got to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!
Colin advised me throughout the whole process – which in my opinion was much better than any solicitor I have ever had to deal with previously.

As I have already explained, Colin is totally child focussed and therefore deals with any issue in an unbiased and morally proper way rather than one of financial benefit to himself. That is evident when my costs for everything came to approximately 10% of a similar case I was involved with almost a decade earlier.

In short, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in strongly recommending Mr Colin Brealey to represent anyone who required a professional service for any matters involving children & family.
– Mr M. (Staffordshire)
I have recently been assisted by Colin Brealey at my Final Hearing at court. Colin gave me a tremendous amount of time and support building my case prior to the hearing at short notice. Not only was he dedicated to his work he was also very supportive and enthusiastic . He fully understands the court process and gave me great advice regarding how to present myself within court. Without Colin's knowledge and negotiating skills I believe I would not have achieved such a successful outcome with my case. He understands the importance of equal parenting and gives his upmost to support families. I would highly recommend Colin to anybody and would not hesitate to ask for his assistance again.
– Mr C. (Derbyshire)
Hi Jeff,
Hope you are well?

Apologies for taking so long to write to you. I’d wanted to get in touch and thank you for your service during court proceedings. It was really comforting to have someone there with me that knew the process, was understanding of my situation and wanted the best for myself and child.

I know that you went above and beyond and ended up doing CAFCASS’ job on the day too so really appreciate everything.
Take care
– Ms H. (London)