Training For Litigants In Person and McKenzie Friends
Following the withdrawal of Legal Aid in the majority of cases, the very predictable and inevitable conclusion made clear by most professionals is coming to fruition. Litigants in Person are clogging up the system.
Not helped by the number of Mckenzie Friends who are not always able to provide the necessary assistance to keep their ‘client’ and/or the case on track, delay, extended length of hearings and a failure to follow procedure are causing problems to the legal industry.
Whilst most litigants will have little sympathy for the legal system and its self-inflicted problem, the consequence is that any disadvantage they had by representing themselves is exacerbated.
Lord Dyson recently raised his concerns at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) annual Presidents Dinner, referring to the serious problem of unregulated Mckenzie Friends needing to be addressed. Currently there is no regulation and a Mckenzie Friend can hinder a litigant’s chances of getting a reasonable outcome by a lack of knowledge, professionalism, and ability.
Only very recently in the matter of Nigel Baggaley (aka Nigel Quinn)  EWHC 1496 (Fam)
Mr Baggaley was banned from acting or holding himself out as a McKenzie Friend until such time as he can demonstrate that he has achieved a proper understanding of the unacceptable nature of his conduct.
The Bar Council, Law Society and CILEX have all recently published guidelines for their own professionals in how to deal with litigants, assisting them as far as is appropriate in the interests of justice.
CILEx President Frances Edwards said:
'The weakening of access to justice, the cuts to legal aid and legal advice charities, and rising court fees, has once again put ‘the lawyer’ out of reach of vast numbers of people, particularly the most vulnerable.‘
Simon Walland has seen for himself how litigants are at a disadvantage by attending court on their own. It is a reality that most people have no experience of courts other than what they see on television, which is nothing like the family courts. Taking on a task that ideally needs the knowledge and experience of a lawyer with a law degree and the appropriate training to become a Solicitor or Barrister is not something that should be done lightly or without some knowledge of how to present their case, and to, more importantly, understand the relevance of evidence and how to use it.
Simon Walland has been providing training courses for McKenzie Friends for several years, and has launched a training day for Litigants. It will explain how to approach resolving family law problems without involving the court, and if that isn’t successful how to approach court hearings, how to present your case effectively. He covers the various types of application and how to make them, approach then properly and to enforce them if necessary.
Anyone intending to represent themselves in court, will benefit from the training. They wont get 5 or 6 years of knowledge that a lawyer has, but they will be a huge step further forward in their understanding of what is required of them than they otherwise would be.
Follow the link to book your place: