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mckenzie friend ripping us off! Family LAw Assistance? pfft!!!

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  • mckenzie friend ripping us off! Family LAw Assistance? pfft!!!

    Has anyone else had incredibly bad experiences with these people or with McKenzie friends? surely they should all be under some regulations by law rather than voluntarily? given they are in court and advising people in court situations??
    Ok so we went to a small organisation called Family Law Assistance run by someone called Steven & Michaela Wade, these are two of a kind to deal with although to be fair we haven't had much dealing with Steven, just Michaela. They advertise as family law in court and out of court support and we needed support with a family case we are dealing with. We agreed to pay them £655 although they asked for this prior to any work had been done at all, but we paid it in good faith. I then sent her the necessary paperwork, although the key documents were not available to me, the invoice stated that she would prepare a Position Statement and pursue the CAFCASS report (neither of which she did due to the cafcass report not being available at the point of cancellation.

    We decided within a couple of days that we didn't have the relationship with Michaela that we wanted, she seemed excessively busy, and under the circumstances we wanted a schedule for when a meeting would take place (this was on the invoice also but never happened), after speaking to the secretary who said that a refund would be no problem and would be issued within one working day- given the work had clearly not been started - (this call was within 7 days of paying Family Law Assistance) - however!!! no refund was given and we then got an email to say that we would get 'any and all refunds within 30 days'. So we wrote back reminding them that this was a distance selling agreement and they had to refund within 14 days, which they did not reply to, and after much attempted communication on our side we said that we would be taking them to small claims court if they did not refund.

    So today, at least one month following talking to these crooks, we receive a part refund of £490, because she said she 'read the paperwork', however, the question I have is that reading the paperwork was not part of the invoice, it was the above mentioned tasks that she had agreed to do - and we were told that she hadn't even started reading the papers we had sent when we cancelled the agreement. We know that the outstanding £170 is not really a great deal of money but we are outraged that these people are prepared to go to these lengths to take our money.

    I should add that there were no cancellation notes or such like sent or that I can find on their website, and the payment had to be made by bank transfer, on the day the invoice was sent to me.

    Is this a usual scenario when dealing with such McKenzie friends? I should add that we used a solicitor in the end.

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  • #2
    Hi Lola49,

    A shame you've had a bad experience using a McKenzie friend. You decided within a couple of days you did not wish to use this company any longer. This does seem a very short time to make a decision when certain work could not be undertaken before receipt of the CAFCASS report. Did anything else happen to change your mind about using them?

    McKenzie friends are being used more frequently now with so many more people acting as litigants in person and I can only see them becoming more popular with the significant cuts in legal aid and costs continuing to increase.

    This link may explain the use of McKenzie friends for people (I'm sure you are aware now but it may be helpful for others considering using one):-https://www.legalchoices.org.uk/types-of-lawyers/other-lawyers/mckenzie-friends/

    I have checked their website
    and it doesn't appear they are members of the
    Society of Professional McKenzie Friends although Michaela states that she has a CiLex qualification (which is a legal qualification so she should have some knowledge).

    If the need ever arose to use a Mckenzie friend
    , I would recommend trying to find one who is registered with the Society then at least you have some recourse should matters not proceed as you would hope.
    I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.


    • #3
      Hi yes we did change our minds within a week, and requested a full refund, as I said we didn't get this and they made us wait over a month for the money back. The problem was that as I said, she seemed very busy and really too busy to deal with the case, and gave no timescales etc, and I was frankly worried given I could find no independent reviews about them on the internet that it was some kind of scam, I think now it was of sorts given we have lost money and have received no service from them, except a lot of hostility (after I cancelled they actually blocked one of my numbers from their main number - I can only imagine it was because I was trying to get our money back). Sadly it came over that she had taken the cancellation as a personal matter, which, even if it was shouldn't have mattered.

      I think there should be more monitoring of McKenzie Friends because I am sure we are not the only people who have been treated in this way.


      • #4
        This is Terrible! So sad to hear too!

        we had many issues too! Either paper work incorrect names or someone else’s names!

        stating they are doing what we paid them for , then change their minds and expect more money!

        very inconsistent and false. Do not know how Michaela and Stephen Wade from FamilyLawAssist can get away with all this.

        same goes for expecting money paid for
        jobs they say they will do , but do not!!!! Then same after what happened to you!

        these two are terrible and feed off peoples an families heart aches who are desperate and in need of help.


        • #5
          Any help?
          An unqualified legal adviser has been ordered to pay more than £260,000 in compensation after he caused a man to miss out on damages and incur huge costs in a medical negligence case.A High Court judge said that the adviser, who held himself out as a competent legal professional, owed a duty of car

          This is only my opinion - "Opinions are made to be changed --or how is truth to be got at?" (Byron)

          You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.
          Cohen, Herb

          There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he
          gets his brain a-going.
          Phelps, C. C.

          "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
          The last words of John Sedgwick


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