O and others (Children); In re O (Children), In re W-R (a Child), In re W (Children): CA 22 Jun 2005

In each case litigants in person had sought to be allowed to have the assistance and services of a Mackenzie friend in children cases. In one case, the court had not allowed confidential documents to be disclosed to the friend.
Held: The courts had been unhelpful to the parties appearing before them. If given access to confidential court documents, a McKenzie friend would be obliged to maintain their confidentiality, and a breach would be a contempt of court. The 2004 Act had relaxed some restrictions on publication of court cases. The Human Rights of the appellant were engaged by this decision. The court was particularly concerned to dispel any suggestion that a McKenzie Friend should not attend a directions hearing. The appeals succeeded.
Thorpe, Wall LJ
[2005] EWCA Civ 759, Times 27-Jun-2005, [2006] Fam 1, [2005] 3 WLR 1191
Children Act 2004 62, Administration of Justice Act 1960 12, Children Act 1989 97(2), European Convention on Human Rights 8.1, Family Proceedings Rules 1991 4.23
England and Wales
CitedMcKenzie v McKenzie CA 10-Jul-1970
Mr McKenzie was a litigant in person who wished to be assisted by a young Australian barrister, gratuitously, in the conduct of his case by sitting beside the husband in Court and prompting him. The hearing was in open Court . The friend’s conduct . .
CitedIn re G (a Child) (Contempt: Committal) CA 10-Apr-2003
The appellant had been made subject to a suspended committal to prison. He was involved with children proceedings, and had published details on the Internet which would make the social worker traceable.
Held: Where a contempt was not committed . .
CitedGuidance (McKenzie Friends) 2005
Sir Mark Potter gave guidance on the acceptance of McKenzie Friends as advocates: ‘A court may grant an unqualified person a right of audience in exceptional circumstances only and only after careful consideration (D v S (Rights of Audience) [1997] . .
CitedRepresentation of Children in Family Proceedings pursuant to FPR 1991 rule 9.5 5-Apr-2004
Guidance was given including the following: ‘A litigant in person wishing to have the help of a McKenzie Friend should be allowed to do so unless the judge is satisfied that fairness and the interests of justice do not so require. The presumption in . .
CitedIn re G (a Child) (Litigants in Person) CA 28-Jul-2003
The father of a child involved in a case before the court was acting in person. He wanted to seek advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or the RCJ Personal Support Unit.
Held: The rules needed to be reconsidered so that a litigant in person . .
CitedCollier v Hicks 7-Jun-1831
Trespass for assaulting, and turning plaintiff out of a police office. Plea, that two of the defendants, being justices of the peace, were assembled in a police office to adjudicate upon an information against AB for an offence against a penal . .
CitedRegina v Leicester City Justices, ex parte Barrow CA 1-Aug-1991
The appellant challenged a community charge liability order in which justices had refused an application made on his behalf for a friend to be allowed to sit with him to give advice and assistance. He sought judicial review. The Divisional Court had . .
CitedIn Re H (A Minor) (Chambers Proceedings: Mckenzie Friend) CA 6-May-1997
A father sought ex parte, permission to appeal against orders in the county court. The first had refused to allow him to have a McKenzie friend in an application for contact to his daughter. The Recorder had taken the view that because the . .
CitedRe G (Chambers Proceedings: McKenzie friend) CA 10-Jul-1991
A proposed McKenzie friend was a solicitor who was to be paid, but did not wish to be on the record. H appealed a refusal to allow him to be present in chambers. The Judge had taken the view that the proceedings were of a highly confidential nature . .
CitedRe M (Contact: Family Assistance: McKenzie Friend) CA 1999
A father appealed a refual of consent for him to be allowed assistance from a McKenzie Friend.
Held: He should have been allowed assistance on the contact and other applications. It was ‘a matter of regret’ that the father had been denied the . .
CitedRegina v Bow County Court, Ex Parte Pelling CA 17-Dec-1999
Access to the court given to a McKenzie Friend should normally be given in matters in open court, but when it came to matters being heard in chambers, the judge had discretion as to who he would hear. The right is in any event that of the litigant, . .
CitedDombo Beheer BV v The Netherlands ECHR 27-Oct-1993
‘under the principle of equality of arms, as one of the features of the wider concept of a fair trial, each party must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present his case under conditions that do not place him at a disadvantage vis-a-vis his . .
CitedRe H (McKenzie Friend: Pre-Trial Determination) CA 2002
The judge had refused a father’s application to be assisted by a McKenzie friend (a Dr Pelling) on the ground that, having listened to and observed the proposed McKenzie friend, he felt that, with the father on his own, the hearing would be fairer, . .
CitedYousef v The Netherlands ECHR 5-Nov-2002
In ‘judicial decisions where the rights under article 8 of parents and of a child are at stake, the child’s rights must be the paramount consideration.’ . .
CitedKent County Council v The Mother, The Father, B (By Her Children’s Guardian); Re B (A Child) (Disclosure) FD 19-Mar-2004
The council had taken the applicant’s children into care alleging that the mother had harmed them. In the light of the subsequent cases casting doubt on such findings, the mother sought the return of her children. She applied now that the hearings . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.227088