Duhaime's Law Dictionary


McKenzie Friend Definition:

A lawyer who steps up in court and assists a lay litigant as a friend of the court.

Related Terms: Self-Represented Litigant, Party Litigant

Justice Mackay of the Outer House, Court of Session of Scotland wrote in the 2007 decision in Anderson, Re Application for Judicial Review

<"The Courts in England have recognised that a party litigant presenting his case in Court may be, or may feel himself to be, at a disadvantage. For this purpose they have, as a matter of discretion, often allowed the party litigant to be assisted in Court by what has become known there as a 'McKenzie friend' (McKenzie v McKenzie [1971] P 33).

"The Courts in England have now recognised that any application by a party litigant for the assistance of a McKenzie friend engages Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom, and have held that there is a strong presumption in favour of allowing such an application.

"Traditionally, the role of a McKenzie friend has simply been to assist the party litigant in the submissions which the party litigant himself makes to the Court. But there have been occasions, in England, where the Court has gone further and, in particular circumstances, allowed the McKenzie friend to address the Court....

"the Court must have power to accede to a motion by a party litigant that the person assisting him in presenting his case be allowed to address the Court on behalf of the party litigant, even though the Court is likely to exercise such a power only in exceptional circumstances. To hold otherwise, it seems to me, would be inimical to principles of access to justice."REFERENCES:

Anderson, Re Application for Judicial Review, [2007] CSOH 110,

McKenzie v McKenzie [1971] P 33

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