The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion

The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion

NSRLP is proud to present its latest SRL guide, The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion written by Judith DaSilva and Julie Macfarlane.

A “McKenzie Friend” (MF) is a support person who sits with a SRL at the front of the courtroom. A MF cannot address the court, but they can organize and hand the SRL their documents as needed, take notes for review after the hearing, and above all help a SRL to stay calm and centred . MFs are used widely in courts in the UK and Australia, but the concept is relatively new in Canada. In this new NSRLP guide, Judith and Julie suggest ways to evaluate what help a support person might give and how to pick the “right” person, as well as how to present a request for a MF to a judge.

“With their clear, straight-forward guide to choosing and presenting a courtroom companion, Judith DaSilva and Julie Macfarlane will help thousands of people to assess whether they need a McKenzie friend, how to choose a McKenzie friend, and how to explain their needs to judges. Equal service to self-represented litigants is the next frontier in making Canada’s justice system fair to all.”

David Merner, Executive Director, Dispute Resolution Office, British Columbia Ministry of Justice

The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion


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Comments (3)

  • Wael badawt

    This concept is not acceptable in any court in Alberta.

    I kept trying it however all judges laugh at it and rejected it

    There is something fundamentally wrong in either our understanding or the court judges.

    The stuff we see here in Alberta does not make any sense.

    March 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm
  • bcaptijn

    As a friend of several self-represented litigants (SRLs), I’ve been advised twice by the License Appeal Tribunal (LAT) adjudicators and management that I’m not allowed to be present as a moral support or as a friend of the SRL at pre-hearings. An e-mail last week from the oversight body of the LAT (SLASTO), told me the parties may have to “make submissions” about whether to allow a friend of the SRL to attend pre-hearings. Does this make sense to anyone? One of the SRLs found herself last month up against 2 sets of lawyers and their various witnesses and assistants, 7 people in total. She was alone.

    March 15, 2016 at 2:56 pm
  • Launching NSRL’s latest Guide: The McKenzie Friend – NSRLP

    […] are delighted to launch our latest SRL resource, written and researched by Judith DaSilva with Julie Macfarlane. At NSRLP we are convinced that […]

    March 24, 2016 at 12:29 am

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