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Case not made for ban on fee charging McKenzie Friends, says Legal Services Board

‘Any moves to restrict consumers' choices should be based on evidence of detriment’

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has submitted its response to the Judicial Executive Board (JEB) consultation on the approach courts should take to McKenzie Friends.

The LSB supports many of the JEB's proposals, but it does not consider that the case has been made for a total ban on fee charging.

The Legal Services Board's Chief Executive Neil Buckley said:

"We recognise that the justice system is currently going through a period of significant change and that this brings challenges for consumers and in particular for the Judiciary. We welcome this consultation in light of these changes and support some of the proposals set out in it.

"However we are not convinced that the case has been made for an outright ban on fee charging McKenzie Friends.

"We know from our 2016 individual legal needs survey that 64% of consumers with a legal problem do not seek independent assistance in dealing with it. In this context, any moves to restrict consumers' choices should be targeted and based on evidence of detriment.

"We do not believe that the consultation paper adequately explains why a ban is necessary, what harm the ban would address or what the consequences of the ban might be for consumers. In these circumstances we do not support this particular proposal."

The LSB response to the Judicial Executive Board consultation on the approach courts should take to McKenzie Friends can be found here. The consulation document is here.

27/5/16