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That this House notes that following the cuts in legal aid provision there has been an increase in people representing themselves in court with the assistance of a McKenzie Friend; understands that a McKenzie Friend is usually a non-lawyer and is often a friend or colleague of the litigant in person, who accompanies them to a court hearing for the purpose of assisting them in matters such as taking notes, organising documents and quietly making suggestions; recognises that McKenzie Friends can be a helpful presence for those experiencing court proceedings for the first time; believes, however, that they are a poor substitute for proper legal advice and representation from a qualified lawyer; is concerned that vulnerable families and individuals could be taken advantage of by unqualified people who charge for their services or who may have a political agenda; is alarmed that professionals report anecdotal evidence of a recent incident of a paid McKenzie Friend, who acted for a number of vulnerable women, who was subsequently found to have a substantial criminal record; and calls on the Government to create a suitable framework for the oversight and regulation of McKenzie Friends.
Total number of signatures: 23
Showing 23 out of 23