A Kiss good bye to the McKenzie Friend?

Friday , 5, February 2016 Leave a comment

CASE:  Saunders v Legal Profession Admission Board (No 2) [2016] NSWSC 27

The Court allowed an appeal from Legal Profession Board’s decision that appellant is not a “fit and proper person” for admission.

The Law Society appeared as amicus curiae – this is a close relative of the McKenzie friend.

An amicus curiae (literally, friend of the court; plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case and offers information that bears on the case, but who has not been solicited by any of the parties to assist a court.

The appellant sought order that Law Society of New South Wales bear 30% of actual costs incurred (for interfering in the matter) the Society opposed this order naturally.

Held: A costs order should be made in appellant’s favour and the Law Society to bear 30% of costs incurred after it commenced acting as amicus curiae.

You can argue this is a fair judgment.  The appellant as a result of the interference of the Law Society in the matter has to now incur more costs to defend himself, so they should be obliged  to pay a percentage of the costs now if they lose.

Fair enough I suppose,  but is it signalling a kiss good bye to the McKenzie Friend?   The Amicus are related to the McKenzie friend,  Mckenzie is the big brother of little amicus curiae in that little amicus would normally only put in a written submission for the Court to consider where as a McKenzie friend gets to speak before the Court.

You don’t hear much about Amicus and McKenzie these days,  I hear amicus is busy in certain circles not hanging out with Mckenzie any more  and who is no where to bee seen?

 A McKenzie friend assists a litigant in person in a court of law in England and Wales. This person does not need to be legally qualified. The crucial point is that litigants in person are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

In any case would it mean if someone was a McKenzie friend just trying to help a fellow man in need, a person who may not be able to afford a lawyer to obtain justice.  A friend steps in and volunteers his time to help and be his advocate to give him a voice in the Court.

Would it mean the McKenzie friend now may also be liable for a percentage of the costs?


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