Booker – not biting

As Suesspicious Minds reports, there is another scandal story on the Telegraph by Booker. It appears to resemble this case on Bailli: LB Barnet v M1 [2012] EWCC 5 Fam, but it is impossible to be sure, although this report seems to make it more likely to be the same case : Deported, Imprisoned and Beaten for being a parent (I note in passing at the bottom of that article the apology for what appears to have been significantly inaccurate reporting of a “secret” event at which Mr Booker appears not to have been present, which one might think would have chastened Mr Booker to the risks of relying on potentially biased or unreliable sources). This week’s report in the Telegraph relates to a further phase of proceedings – a JR – and there is no judgment of that available. As Suesspicious Minds says, we await that judgment. But if this is the M1 case it is very concerning, and not only because of the vast chasm between the account of that case in the judgment of HHJ Mayer and Booker’s reports of it, but also because of the advice that appears to have been given to a vulnerable litigant. I expect that the judgment will be made available in due course because it appears on the face of the reporting to have significant implications for McKenzie friends, or possibly for those granted rights of audience or perhaps who have been conducting litigation.


7 thoughts on “Booker – not biting

  1. Russell armstrong

    Hi Lucy
    An interesting read is that judgement
    This has some of the hall marks of the case of Vicky haige situation where a [edited]
    However as SM has said, you go prepared into a judicial review case and if we read between the lines of the booker story the McKenzies in that case must have put forward sufficient cogent reasons for them to be given rights if audience and to “represent” thier client without her being there, to my mind, makes them lambs to the slaughter, unwitting or not.
    To pursue a case based upon a particular and narrow agender (i.e. In this case mother must be hard done to having child taken away from her) is niaeve and saddening
    But we must all take responsibility for our actions and if said McKenzies have had a cost order against them then they have no one to blame except themselves
    Buyer beware!

    • Russell,
      I’ve edited your post out of an abundance of caution because you are critical of individuals – you may be right in what you say but I don’t think there is presently clear evidence to back what you say.

  2. I was surprised to read last week that some Mckenzie Friends charge for their services. Thinking back to when I was working as a solicitor many years ago, we had very high insurance premiums to cover inour hourly fees. So I’m wondering – why train as a lawyer, why take out professional jndemnity insurance, if you can earn a living as a lay advocate? Coincidentally, school teachers in England are objecting to schools employing unqualified staff at low salaries – so may be a trend. But presumably the school takes responsibility for them & they are regulated by Ofsted. So does a party have any protection at all if they pay a non-qualified non-insured non-regulated advocate in court?

    • No protection whatsoever. Unless they want to sue on a contract and argue an implied term of some kind of competence. As a litigant in person…Good luck with that.

  3. […] The case recently reported by Christopher Booker regarding a mother’s failed JR and the wasted costs order against her “McKenzie friends” is an example of some of the difficulties (see earlier blog post). […]

  4. Bookers often bonkers imho.

    Wasted Costs Order against McKenzie Friends, not before time, although this is a JR where it was a likelihood rather than a surprise, perhaps?

    Lawyers get Costs Orders against them, why shouldn’t McKenzie Friends if they behave as badly.

    Vulnerable clients can get poor advice from shoddy lawyers as they can from shoddy McKenzie Friends, little or no difference – Q the regulation argument blah blah blah – Sorry, but it makes little practical difference very often to vulnerable clients of lawyers.

    As for ROA, well for most clients of McKenzie Friends it’s not needed or warranted. A good McKenzie Friend will not have any need of ROA, if they are skilled and experienced enough.

    Insurance, well some McKenzie Friends have it, others do not – That is a concern and all should be encouraged to have such.

    No McKenzie Friend Conducts Litigation, unless explicitly invited to by the Court. It is a reserved activity as we all know under the Legal Services Act 2007. Only Solicitors and a few Barristers…

    So, if a McKenzie Friend is conducting litigation, then use the Act and have them dealt with accordingly.

    I’d say most if not all the tools are there to sanction shoddy McKenzie Friends and indeed lawyers, if needed.

    • Chambers. Depends v much on how you define conduct of litigation. Sometimes CoA takes a v wide view of what falls into that category e.g. assisting with drafting a witness statement. I’m pretty confident some McKenzies DO in effect conduct litigation in some cases, and I am fairly sure without the formal sanction of the court.

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