Welcome to my first blog on McKenzie Friend Professionals website and video post on Facebook and YouTube. I'm Vinay Deobhakta and I'm the self proclaimed Pioneer of the McKenzie Friends professionals concept in New Zealand. As many of you are aware I'm a former senior lawyer who encountered difficulties with the NZ law society in 2009 and those issues which I will have more to say about in later blogs led me to discovering and developing the McKenzie Friends professionals concept. (So look out in later blogs about my personal story.)
Today however, I would like to introduce you to McKenzie Friend in general and to my McKenzie Friend Professionals' business. Due to the legal aid cuts there's an ever increasing gap appearing in the market where people can't get legal aid but can't afford a lawyer. They are stranded. For Maori and Polynesians the gap is even bigger. It's leading to more and more people being forced to represent themselves in court matters and even important meetings. Hence the ever increasing appearances of McKenzie Friends in courts, tribunals and even important meetings.
McKenzie vs McKenzie was a family court case in the United Kingdom in 1971.
On appeal the court held Mr McKenzie had been wronged in the lower court by being denied the use of a support person in his case as a self litigant. The case applies to New Zealand and Australian legal jurisdictions and has been tucked away since 1971 but is now coming back into the spotlight purely because of economics. Technology has taken the difficulty of access to legal information (and therefore expense) away.
Now, if you can read and write, most of the legal information is available for free on the internet and so people are starting to realise that if the case is appropriate they can do it themselves and use a McKenzie Friend for Court support.
McKenzie Friend is not suitable for all cases and problems. It has its place.
There are some cases which are complex in legal matters and a litigant really needs a lawyer. But there are other cases where the use of a McKenzie Friend is appropriate. In UK which is the home of McKenzie Friends, there is ongoing debate on the extent of McKenzie Friends powers including their regulation now that professional fee charging McKenzie Friends are appearing more and more.
In New Zealand I believe the McKenzie Friend can help fill the gap but the only way to do it successfully is professionally! Support the self litigant in a professional manner where the court or tribunal also appreciates the assistance given. I support regulation of McKenzie Friends in the future. (Perhaps by government.)
I provide a close knit training for self litigants and McKenzie Friends who want to help others. It's close knit because I hand pick my trainees and supervise and mentor them closely.
Welcome to McKenzie Friend Professionals. I am looking forward to engaging with you and sharing the McKenzie Friend concept in a professional manner which will be appreciated by everyone including the judiciary, lawyers and self-litigants.
If you are interested in training or require a McKenzie Friend I invite you to get in touch via the website enquiries and our team will be in touch!
McKenzie Friend Professionals