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CILEx , 11 JUN 2015

Lord Dyson highlights concerns over McKenzie Friends and Litigants in Person in CILEx speech

The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, used a keynote speech on Monday, 8 June to highlight the ‘hot potato’ issues of McKenzie Friends and Litigants in Person.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives’ (CILEx) annual President’s Dinner he said the ‘serious problem of unregulated McKenzie Friends’ needed addressing, and promised a public consultation later in the year following concerns over the lack of regulation and insurance where McKenzie Friends were charging fees.

On Litigants in Person he said:

'I take this opportunity to salute CILEx for your role in collaborating with the Bar Council and Law Society to produce guidelines for the profession on handling cases involving unrepresented parties. I was very pleased to see the emphasis on a lawyer’s duty to the court and the administration of justice, as well as to the client. Judges – like lawyers – are having to adapt to the new world and assist LiPs as far as is appropriate in the interests of justice.'
The dinner, attended by legal luminaries, judges, politicians, commentators and educationalists, also heard from CILEx President Frances Edwards. She said:

'The weakening of access to justice, the cuts to legal aid and legal advice charities, and rising court fees, has once again put ‘the lawyer’ out of reach of vast numbers of people, particularly the most vulnerable. I feel it only right that the Ministry of Justice has not earmarked legal aid to be burdened with the latest round of cuts.'
Frances continued: 'Thousands of lawyers working pro bono from one end of the country to the other have been supporting where they can, and I want to pay tribute to them tonight.'

Attendees included attorney general Jeremy Wright, former attorney general Dominic Grieve, and justice campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence.

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