M(a)ckenzie friend

The Times Online (and offline) law section today reports that the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group gave an award to Jeffrey Gordon (69), who was a legal aid solicitor for over 50 years and is one of only 30 men who have completed all 30 London Marathons. He created the idea of the Mackenzie friend / Mackenzie person, someone who helps a party to a court case if that party has no lawyer.

They are slow off the mark, as it appears that the story first appeared in the Law Gazette, the periodical of the Law Society, the professional organization of solicitors in England and Wales, on April 22nd, in the following terms:

The awards, organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, also recognised Jeffrey Gordon, a consultant at London firm Attridge, with the judges’ special award. Cherie Booth QC chaired the judging panel.

Mr Gordon has been a legal aid lawyer for more than 50 years, whose achievements include ‘inventing’ the Mackenzie Friend (now known as a litigation friend), and helping to set up the court duty solicitor scheme. Now 69, he still attends police stations at night and at weekends as a duty solicitor.

But just a minute – the litigation friend is the term that the new Civil Procedure Rules (equivalent of the German Zivilprozessordnung) used to replace a next friend, who represents a child or a person under disability as a plaintiff (as they used to call it before the CPR), and also a guardian ad litem, who had the same role but for defendants (Prozesspfleger). Does the Gazette not know the terminology? I searched the later editions to see the readers’ letters, but all I found was a correct definition in a column offering ‘guidance on a range of subjects’:

Q Can I act for a minor or person under a disability on a conditional fee basis? If so, with whom do I enter into the agreement?

A Yes. Both patients and children (subject in the latter case to any order to the contrary made by the court, see CPR rule 21.2(3)) must have a litigation friend to conduct proceedings on their behalf. You would enter into the conditional fee agreement (CFA) with the litigation friend, who would sign the agreement.

Further information was given on what an apostille is and where to make tin-mining and clay-mining searches if you were buying a house in Cornwall.

I recall a question in a German translators’ mailing list as to what a litigation friend was, and some wild speculation following it. The most popular theory was that a litigation friend is a person who enjoys going to court, a litigious person (German Querulant).

Somehow I doubt that the term Mackenzie friend has entered the bilingual dictionaries, although I remember facetiously suggesting it for the Austrian term Winkelschreiber, which Russwurm and Schoeller’s dictionary defines as follows:

Person, die gewerbsmäßig rechtsfreundliche Vertretungen, insbesondere Eingaben oder Urkunden verfaßt, oder vor Gericht oder Verwaltungsbehörden mit oder ohne Anwaltszwang vertritt, ohne zu einer solchen Vertretung befugt zu sein (§ 1 WinkelschreiberV).

Winkelschreiber are, however, forbidden – I don’t find the Russwurm definition 100% clear here.

Österreichisches Rechtswörterbuch
1600 Fachbegriffe der österreichischen Rechtssprache. Praxisnahe erläutert. Mit Hinweisen auf die relevanten Gesetzesstellen.
Von DDr. Heinz G. Russwurm, Wirtschaftstreuhänder und Dr. Alexander P. Schoeller, Rechtsanwalt.
ISBN 3-214-17562-9
2., neubearb. Aufl. 255 Seiten. 1997 € 26,80 Verlag MANZ Edition Juridica.

While researching this, I found – only in the Google cache – a page of notes on translation problems by the European parliament, presumably for internal use in their translation department. The page was called Varia and had either moved or been removed. Here is an extract:

Syndikatsvertrag (Kontext: Gesellschaftsrecht)
Österreichischer Ausdruck für Vertrag, mit dem Gesellschafter (untereinander) ein bestimmtes Verhalten innerhalb einer Gesellschaft vereinbaren. (Definition aus: Russwurm/Schoeller: Österreichisches Rechtswörterbuch, Wien 1997)

In Kastner/Doralt/Nowotny: Grundriß des österreichischen Gesellschaftsrechts, Wien 1990, heißt es im Kapitel “Aktiengesellschaft” (S. 273): “Stimmrechtsbindungsverträge (Syndikatsverträge) […] können Aktionäre miteinander abschließen oder mit Dritten.”

In Deutschland ist der Ausdruck ungeläufig und stattdessen von Stimm(rechts)bindungsvertrag, manchmal auch von Poolvertrag die Rede.
EN: voting trust agreement; FR: pacte (dit) de votation
Beitrag ursprünglich von Frau Glander (BMWA, Wien)

“bricks-and-mortar bookshops” v. “internet / e(lectronic)-bookshops”:
Unbedingt zu vermeiden ist die wörtliche Übersetzung mit “Steine und Mörtel”: (materielle) Buchhandlungen/Buchläden aus Stein(en) und Mörtel.
Am ehesten zu empfehlen ist zumindest in diesem Fall die Übersetzung mit herkömmliche/traditionelle/klassische/normale/gewöhnliche/physische Buchhandlungen oder mit Buchläden “zum Anfassen” / “an der Ecke”. Das Gegenstück wären die Internet-, die Online-, die elektronischen (oder die virtuellen) Buchhandlungen.
Andere Lösungen in anderen Zusammenhängen:
– bricks-and-mortar ticket offices – Ticketverkaufsstellen (also weglassen);
– bricks-and-mortar value – Gebäudewert (Quelle: ABl. L 88/1999, S. 26.)
Beitrag ursprünglich von Herrn Meyer-Koeken (Kom)

The Mackenzie friend is still in the Oxford Dictionary of Law:

(from the case McKenzie v McKenzie (1971)) A person who sits beside an unrepresented litigant in court and assists him by prompting, taking notes, and quietly giving advice.

I like the ‘quietly’.

7 thoughts on “M(a)ckenzie friend

  1. Thanks for the Hanger name, Margaret. Let’s take this discussion to the right site. The full name of the original McKenzie friend is now Ian Hangar QC of the Queensland Bar, Oz. I heard him talking at the Aussie Bar Conference in Paris on the 9th July 2002.
    Jeffrey Gordon must have followed onto the stage set by Ian.

    Adrian, 1986 London Marathon finisher in 2 hours 57 mins.

  2. I want to know where Jeffrey Gordon fits in. The Law Gazette can’t be totally wrong (or can it?)

    2 hours 57 mins. – that sounds very impressive. Congratulations.
    I bet that was without your gown and bands!

  3. Thanks. I don’t know how Jeffrey Gordon fits in, either. As far as I am concerned, I’m sticking with my learned Aussie friend as the originator. I still remember the gasps of amazement as he was announced as the original McKenzie Friend to the conference audience that included 5 out of Australia’s 6 Highest Court Justices.

    Yes. I was running light in 1986 after training with the London Irish and Thames Valley Harriers in West London. Last year, the fastest of the Eng. & Wales Bar’s 12 ‘Rumpole Runners’ clocked up an elite London Marathon time of 2 hours 23 mins. Counsel Magazine didn’t say who he was and where he was from. I strongly suspect a Commonwealth/ African/ another Antipodean barrister.

  4. I am McKenzie’s friend. I came across this site when surfing the net for the name of my old employer Jeffrey Gordon. My version of events is set out in an article by my close friend Justice Richard Chesterman who recently wrote an article about the case published in the Queensland Bar News. It’s a very well written article. If anyone would like it please provide your email address.
    Ian Hanger QC

  5. Thanks Ian for the Gordon clarification and for the interesting article e-mailed to me.

    Attitudes to Antipodean lawyers have changed in GB since ‘them there days’. Because of their practical training guided not only by uni. academics but also by legal practitioners and judges, Aussie lawyers – solicitors and barristers – are now in great demand in English & Welsh law firms in general and at a premium at the huge ‘Magic Circle’ City of London law firms in particular.

    However, the Bar Council of England Wales still has to give rights of audience permission to Brit. Commonwealth Barristers, even for one-off case appearances.

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