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'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)
My son and I enlisted the support of Colin from the start of the legal process that was instigated in order for him to have contact with his daughter, Colin’s advice and support through each stage was invaluable and this lead ultimately to a court order that gave him everything that he set out to achieve.
I firmly believe that this positive result was achieved through Colin’s advice and more specifically through his negotiating skills at the final hearing as this made a huge impact on the final outcome. I would recommend Colin Brealey to anyone.
– Mr B. (Northamptonshire)
On the advice of my McKenzie (the excellent Jeff Botterill), we appealed successfully to a Circuit Judge - who also then reserved the case to her - and the whole momentum of the process shifted, ultimately to my (and my son's) great benefit...excellent level of parenting time, SRO, etc.
– Mr T. (London)
Thank you for the amazing support and help you have been over the last few years. I really can't tell you how grateful I have been for everything you did.
Have a lovely weekend!
– Ms F. (London)
Hi Colin, I wanted to express my gratitude for the way you assisted myself whilst fighting for joint custody of my children, you were there to talk me through every step of the way and explained everything perfectly. You operate with a courteous and professional approach to the situation that was in hand, I can honestly say I don't think I would of got as far or such superb results without you by my side.

I can hand on heart say that I would recommend you for advice to anyone facing legal difficulties.

Cheers
– Mr H. (Derbyshire)