Litigants in person and McKenzie friends—public law
Litigants in person and McKenzie friends—public law

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Litigants in person and McKenzie friends—public law
  • Background
  • Practice guidance
  • Litigant in person without assistance
  • Litigant in person assisted by McKenzie friend

This Practice Note sets out guidance and best practice in cases where a party is acting in person or via a McKenzie friend in public law children proceedings, including the courts’ approach to reasonable assistance to be offered to a litigant in person in putting their case and requirements for a litigant in person to comply with the provisions of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010).


Every party to care proceedings is entitled to a fair hearing, and the parents and child are entitled to the protection of their Article 6 rights (right to a fair trial) under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as incorporated into the Human Rights Act 1998. There is no obligation to use a solicitor, although in care proceedings, as opposed to private law children proceedings, legal aid remains available for both the child and the parents and to anyone else with parental responsibility, regardless of means, so the majority of parents are legally represented. Litigants in person are comparatively rare in that context. In other proceedings, such as applications for the discharge of care orders, the legal aid position differs, and it is more common to find parents acting for themselves. Moreover, other relatives of the child (who do not have parental responsibility) may become parties to care proceedings, and may not be able to afford legal

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