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Judicial Executive Board consults on reforms to guidance on McKenzie Friends

Paper discusses whether formal rules of court are needed

The Judicial Executive Board (JEB) has issued a consultation paper proposing reforms to the existing guidance for 'McKenzie Friends', non-lawyers who offer assistance and in some cases seek to appear as advocates on behalf of litigants-in-person (LiPs).

The background to the paper is the rise in recent years in the number of both LiPs and McKenzie Friends.

The existing Practice Guidance on McKenzie Friends for the civil and family courts was issued in 2010, but the JEB is concerned that it needs to be updated to address issues and developments that have arisen since then. It is also concerned that in order to do so effectively it may be necessary to replace the Guidance with rules of court.

A judicial working group, chaired by Mrs Justice Asplin, was set up to examine the issues and make recommendations for reform. That group's report was considered by the Judicial Executive Board, following which the present consultation (including an indicative set of draft Civil Procedure Rules) was prepared.

The Consultation Paper summarises the current position in law, subsequent developments and poses questions in a number of areas, as summarised below:

The JEB has invited comments to be submitted by 19 May 2016. Comments can be sent to mckenzie.friends@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk

The consultation paper is here.

25/2/16