Questions to ask yourself before using a McKenzie Friend.
It won’t be a surprise to many reading this post that we recommend a Family Law Assistance McKenzie Friend to help you with your legal situation. Our work takes us up and down the country with people seeking our help in child contact disputes, big money finance disputes, dog custody battles and even once to visit a mortuary as part of a dispute in a will.
That last one in case you’re interested it didn’t happen – but our top McKenzie Friend Michaela Wade was game.
The wrong first question is how much do you charge?
Our fees are considerably less than the alternative but we’d urge anyone who is using a McKenzie Friend solely or firstly with this question in mind to seriously consider if we’re the right people to help you. We’ll give you an estimate of what we charge for a hearing, for a piece of work, etc. but we aren’t fortune tellers – we can’t and won’t guarantee what will happen in your situation. We’ll tell you what we think is likely but there are no certainties.
If anyone does guarantee you anything in a case…run a mile from them.
Jerry Maguire was a McKenzie Friend: Help me, help you.
To be honest this applies to a McKenzie Friend, solicitor, or barrister. They can do a lot. But not everything. They can’t stop you sending that ill-advised email. Or not mention the criminal conviction that will be a big part of the case or the 17 Social Services interventions to us.
We’ve seen many a £400 pound an hour solicitor sit with their heads trying not to explode with frustration that all the work they have done (and all the money they’ve been paid – honestly!) is wasted because their own client is causing more problems than the opposition.
If this is you…go it alone. Seriously. Save your money.
Should you go to court?
Court should always be the last resort. Anyone who chooses to go to court when there is another option risks being painted as vexatious and/or ending up on the wrong end of a 91/14 barring order. And if you ask our advice we’ll consider this and tell you when it’s not a good idea and alternative potential solutions. It’ll save you a lot of time and money – for the sake of a half hour meeting with us we’ll be honest with you if a court case is likely to be the best way to achieve the result you seek.
Is a McKenzie Friend right for you?
Nine times out of ten we’d say `Yes’. Mostly because no one knows your case like you and likewise no one is motivated as much either.
If you’re one of ten we’ll tell you – recommending great solicitors and barristers we’ve worked with in the past and think will be a positive influence on your situation.
In our experience people are able to represent themselves, get a great result and best of all get a great night’s sleep for the first time too long because they now feel in charge of their own destiny.
The Jerry Springer-style wrap up…
It’s down to you. We can help but what you are responsible for your words and actions if you use us, a solicitor, a barrister or go alone. You’ll also be the one who lives with the consequences often for years afterwards. Think about what your goals are, think carefully about what will best help you achieve them and stick to the plan.