What is a McKenzie Friend?

The term 'McKenzie Friend' is a person who can assist a Litigant in Person (LiP) to deliver a case in a court of law in England and Wales. The Makenzie Friend does not need to be legally qualified however it is always wise to appoint one who is more familiar with the issues being advanced, so they can give the LiP pointers along the way as the case progresses.

The crucial point is a LiP is entitled to be assisted by lay or other legal professionals unless there are exceptional and objectional circumstances.

Their role of the Makenzie Friends is set out in the eponymous 1970 case McKenzie v McKenzie. Although, in saying this, in many cases a McKenzie Friend may be an “actual friend”. However, it is often someone with knowledge of the area of law concerning the case or someone who can assist in the delivery process.

The Makenzie Friend’s role is generally to sit with the litigant and to prompt them, take notes and suggest questions in cross-examination, thereby providing what is termed as “quiet assistance”