MCKENZIE FRIENDS AND THE THREE WISE MONKEYS: A DISCRETION TO BE EXERCISED RARELY

“24. There is a fine line between providing assistance, and advocacy assistance on the one hand and conducting the litigation on the other hand. Undoubtedly Mr Moore has played a major role in this claim to date. In practice, in view of the density of the subject matter, it is inevitable that Mr Ravenscroft will need to refer documents such as the statements of case and the witness statements to a McKenzie Friend. Nevertheless, in my judgement it is right that Mr Ravenscroft should retain conduct of the claim such that he remains the point of contact with whom the CRT will deal. It is a matter for him to decide upon the extent of which he seeks assistance and it should not be assumed automatically that a McKenzie Friend will deal with everything on his behalf.”

Civil Litigation Brief

In Ravenscroft -v- Canal & River Trust [2016] EWHC 2282 (Ch) Chief Master Marsh considered the law relating to allowing a McKenzie friend to be permitted to act. (This case also considered the use of without prejudice correspondence in court,  this will be dealt with in a separate post).

“…the conduct of civil litigation is not the same as pursuing a public campaign. Civil litigation must be conducted in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules and the practice in the Chancery Division explained in the Chancery Guide. The parties to litigation, together with the advocates, have duties to the court which must be respected.”

THE CASE

The claimant was bringing an action relating to the defendant’s seizure of his narrow boat the “Three Wise Monkeys”. The boat had been seized, the claimant alleged unlawfully.  There were issues of construction of general importance , in particular of the meaning, “main navigable…

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