The McKenzie Friend’s enemy?

If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and by that logic, my friend’s enemy is my enemy, what does this have to do with McKenzie friends?

Pause before you conjure up and pretend to give some semblance of an intelligent answer, or nod with a knowing, deep, and meaningful expression on your face, hiding the reality that you have no idea, or care particularly.

The original McKenzie friend was Ian Hanger, (later made Queen’s Counsel, and now a mediator in Queensland, Australia) in the case of McKenzie v McKenzie [1970] 3 ALL ER  1034, CA. Mr McKenzie was legally aided, but then legal aid was withdrawn. He could not afford legal representation, but Mr Hanger was prepared to go to court as a professional friend of McKenzie: A McKenzie Friend, to sit behind him, suggest advice based on procedure and the law, and to assist generally. The Judge at first instance would not allow this on day one of the trial, and so on day two, there was little point in Mr Hangar being at court.

Mr McKenzie appealed the decision on the basis that he had been denied legal representation. The Court of Appeal agreed and the matter was re-tried.

Thus sprang the principle that a McKenzie friend is someone who can assist a litigant-in-person in court with paperwork, court procedure, and assistance generally.

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Special Measures for vulnerable witnesses are potentially inadequate in a Police and Criminal Evidence Act interview

I hope that this article is pertinent to those who act as litigants in person in criminal proceedings where they represent themselves from the outset at Police interviews.

You may be classed as a vulnerable person, but the definitions contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 are relatively ambiguous when defining what a vulnerable person is, in terms of learning disabilities, and other vulnerabilities.

Mental vulnerability is not always recognised by the Police, or by those who are themselves vulnerable.

The same principles as set out in this article could well apply to the approach of a litigant in person during litigation and the Court process in any environment of pressure, and it is hardly surprising that the Government are currently considering applying special measures to vulnerable people, to also apply to litigants-in-person…

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Duties of a lawyer when acting as an advocate, fraud, and defamation.

A lawyer is broadly speaking in English law, a generic term for a solicitor, a barrister, a legal executive, and a solicitor-advocate, regulated by a governing body with codes of conduct, a certificate to practice in the profession, and carrying sufficient indemnity insurance.

A solicitor and a solicitor-advocate’s conduct is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.

A barrister’s conduct is governed by the Code of Conduct of the General Council of the Bar.

Any lawyer who is regulated by the Law Society or the General Council of the Bar, and has a practising certificate and indemnity insurance, can be an advocate.

Barristers and Solicitor-Advocates (if properly accredited by their professional body or permission of the court), have higher rights of audience in the High Courts of Justice in civil courts, and the Crown Courts in criminal courts, to speak.

Litigants-in-person have full higher rights of audience with no qualifications or experience necessarily… Continue reading

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What happens when a claimant is in financial difficulties, or becomes bankrupt, or goes into administration or liquidation during proceedings?

This is not an unusual question. This issue arises a lot.

An individual brings a claim in the courts of England and Wales, (known as a claimant, and previously a plaintiff). For a variety of reasons, they cannot continue because they have run out of funds, or have found themselves in financial dire straits.

If you think that this is going to happen, or the claimant has financial issues, a tool in litigation is to apply for security for costs, depending upon the particular circumstances of the financial concerns, pursuant to Part 25.12 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (‘CPR’).

Security for costs are monies that are paid into court to cover part or all of the defendant’s legal costs, in case the claimant is unable if he/she/it loses a case.

What if a claimant is financially impecunious? Continue reading

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When you think you are right and everyone else is wrong?

This blogpost will no doubt upset those who always think they are right, or know better. Worse still, those who have a certain outlook on life and an understanding of justice and truth, may find that their perception of things according to them, is not the same perception of matters considered according to a court of law.

It is aimed not only at litigants’ in person, but for those engaged and embroiled in litigation in the Courts of England and Wales.

According to Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman in his outstanding book, ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, which I highly commend you to read:

‘Social scientists in the 1970s broadly accepted two ideas about human nature. First, people are generally rational, and their thinking is normally sound. Second, emotions such as fear, affection, and hatred explain most of the occasions on which people depart from rationality’. (Kahneman D, 2011, p8)

Amos Twersky posed the question: ‘Are people good intuitive statisticians?’ (Kahneman D, 2011, p5 )

What does it matter to you , because you are right and your sense of justice is right. Right? Continue reading

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