In June 2016, the Bar Council’s response to the Lord Chief Justice’s consultation on the courts’ approach to paid McKenzie Friends asserted the view that McKenzie Friends, who typically are neither properly trained, regulated, nor insured, should not be allowed to hold themselves out to often unsuspecting and vulnerable members of the public to provide legal services for reward.
In 2017, the Bar Council commissioned independent researchers at Cardiff and Bristol Universities to undertake a new qualitative study on the role of paid McKenzie Friends in the family courts. A mixed picture emerged of the level of service that consumers can expect of paid McKenzie Friends, including some very poor practice. Other important findings were that they were fewer in number than anticipated and mostly operated outside the courtroom, often calling in Public Access qualified barristers to undertake advocacy work. This suggests that the impact of a ban on remuneration for their court support work would be limited.
A statement and links to the full report are available here.
Contact and further information
The Bar Council
289-293 High Holborn