News Article

Are McKenzie friends cheaper than solicitors

Are McKenzie friends cheaper than solicitors is becoming a real issue when it comes to sorting out child arrangement disputes in Court according to Cheshire family law solicitors Stonehewer Moss, who are sure solicitors offer the best service for court. Michael Brennan, a solicitor at the Northwich firm who has worked in children law cases since the week the Children Act 1989 came in to force, has noted a BBC article in the Victoria Derbyshire programme that highlights the unregulated McKenzie friend services available can involve high fees. Michael has the following advice:-

  1. Check with the Court staff about McKenzie friend services if you do not want to speak to solicitors. They will explain the role of McKenzie friend, as detailed below is not insured and unable to act as advocate in Court without court approval, usually requiring the consent of the other parent;
  2. Ideally, get a quote from an accredited solicitor, using the Law Society and Resolution web sites to locate panel members local to you;
  3. Do not assume non lawyers are cheaper or better than a lawyer. Direct Access from barristers is available and lawyer mediators can help secure out of court agreements.
  4. Check if the organisation has a political agenda, as it my be uncomfortable for you if discovered later and the Court may be on guard against organisations with an axe to grind. Remember friends and family are too involved.
  5. Know that all judges other than lay magistrates are solicitors or barristers first and he or she makes the decisions. Court is not the place for anti lawyer stances.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The BBC article makes the following points about McKenzie friends
  • McKenzie friends can help people representing themselves in court to understand the legal process
  • They are often used by people who cannot afford or do not want to use a solicitor
  • Anyone can be a McKenzie friend. It does not require any legal qualification
  • Most often they help claimants fill out forms, or provide advice on the legal process
  • Increasingly, McKenzie friends are charging fees for their work

Fixed fees can now be negotiated for court work with solicitors. Out of court negotiation is a good option for many, as the court does involve abdication of control over arrangements for your family to the Court. Are McKenzie friends cheaper than solicitors; they are unregulated, uninsured, unqualified and have unknown pricing structures.

For advice negotiation and representation in child arrangements matters please call 01606 872200 e mail uk visit


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