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FAQ: Litigants in person - McKenzie Friends

19 February 2014

I am a newly qualified solicitor acting for a claimant. The defendant is acting as a litigant in person (LiP) and would like the assistance of a McKenzie Friend during court proceedings. Is the defendant permitted to have this help and can a McKenzie Friend address the court?

During court proceedings, a LiP has the right to seek reasonable assistance from a lay person, sometimes called a McKenzie Friend. A McKenzie Friend may sit alongside a LiP and provide general support. A McKenzie Friend cannot speak on behalf of a LiP unless invited to do so by the court, either within the confines of the court or in pre-trial meetings. Guidance on this has been issued by the president of the Family Division. For further information, please see the Law Society’s practice note on Litigants in person.


hile every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided by the Practice Advice Service, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.