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Independent Opinions of SFA
What is a McKenzie friend ?  

Quick guide for litigants
in person family law

Sample Reported Cases
Judges must obey the rules
Role of advocate
Cost comparison
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Welcome to Southern family aid (SFA). SFA is an independent non-gender based advice centre for the nuclear family; parents, grandparents and children who are experiencing problems in Family Law whether private law disputes (divorce, separation and residence/ contact) or in public law (child protection, adoption, suspected child abuse) and allied areas of law. We only assist families not other parties.

I have had twelve years experience of teaching children in both mainstream and special schools and also offer a supply teaching service. In Family law the knowledge of special needs and having training in anger management, emotional literacy and worked with children with moderate learning difficulties and behavioural difficulties including pupil referral units, the experience is useful in many of the cases dealt with including Autistic spectrum disorders.

My experience in the Family Court made me realise a more humane, transparent and accountable system is needed; supporting the family unit and rectifying difficulties rather than dividing them. In public law the lack of transparency and accountability as well as a system geared to removal rather than rehabilitation leaves parents and most importantly children poorly served.

The leading case on McKenzie friends is Re O’Connell and others 22nd June [2005] EWCA Civ 759, my own appeal and my CV highlights other reported cases. Sadly like all in this world I have to make a living and have to charge for services provided.

The lack of legal aid and the gap of those falling into the trap where cost of funding legal team is prohibitive yet no legal aid available is the area primarily helped. However everyone is reminded there is no substitute for legal advice from fully qualified Solicitors and their opinion should be sought especially if in doubt. Some people choose to represent themselves out of choice knowing the case better than anyone else yet emotional presentation can be a hazard.

Our method of working is largely forensic as the devil is in the detail and use of remedies. Special interest in appeal cases, seeking evidence using legal and statutory remedies and methodology of assessment of disorders and unraveling findings. Other areas of law covered are judicial review, European Court of Human Rights and Tribunal hearings.

We have access to other persons with expertise in housing, forensic psychology and psychiatry and other associated areas and are hoping to set up a holistic service.

We look forward to hearing from you

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News in 2014 ......2014: Lord Justice Munby's call for more transparency


2015 Current SFA Charges:

Attending Court hearing 200 pounds plus travel and overnight stay if needed.

Preparing Court documents, assisting drafting of statements/ documents, forensic analysis of case files, reading time 30 pounds per hour.

Preparing a skeleton argument for an appeal 400 – 600 pounds.
Legal research on a point of law 30 pounds per hour.

Phone calls and other indirect forms of communication are free.

Charges to be agreed in writing in advance.

These maybe agreed at less dependent on circumstances - please enquire

No surprises and no frills.
Used to tight deadlines and working to order.

Remember it is your case, you know the facts better than anyone else, but with heightened emotions some points you may think are important are not in the eyes of the Court. It is our role to assist you through this process.

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The contents on these pages are provided as information only. No responsibility or liability is accepted by or on behalf of Southernfamilyaid (SFA) for any errors, omissions, or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages connect, whether provided by SFA or by any organisation, company or individual. No mention of any organisation, company or individual, whether on these pages or on other sites to which these pages are linked, shall imply any approval or warranty as to the standing and capability of any such organisations, companies or individuals on the part of SFA. You are reminded any advice given is lay advice and you should check with a fully qualified Solicitor. All rights reserved.