MCKENZIE FRIENDS VICTORY!
As some may already have heard, we/Association of McKenzie Friends won our case against the Home Office/Treasury Solicitor, having been let off the £2000 charge for so-called ‘wasted costs’ in respect of our persistent litigation on behalf of Melissa Laird in 2014. The question was left hanging in the air though, as to whether we might have been using our ‘client’ or protégé as a vehicle for our own campaigning? For which reason, probably, we were not permitted to claim the costs of the excellent Public Law & Costs barrister, Simon Butler whom we had engaged to fight our corner for us.
But as I told Simon, I had all along been fully prepared to pay his fee in the cause of defending our ‘brand’ and the continued right of lay legal advisers or ‘paralegals’ such as McKenzie Friends not to be arbitrarily or summarily (as it previously appeared to us) penalised for defending our ‘clients’/‘protégés’ interests to the best of our ability and within in the parameters of our traditional remit.
Thanks to our very competent barrister and a benign judge, the outcome of these proceedings represents a civilised and somehow reassuringly ‘British’ compromise, the concerns of all sides having been fully advertised as well as satisfactorily met:
- a clear warning has been spelt out to McKenzie Friends not to try the patience of the court from henceforth;
- all litigants or participants ‘by proxy’ in litigation, whether lay people or professionals must operate under the same constraints, this is not just about McKenzie Friends;
- in this case, a clearer warning needed to have been delivered to us/McKenzie Friends in this case that we were ‘overstepping the mark’ and persuading us to desist; this not having been given when it could have been, we should not be made liable on this occasion;
- but, this judicial warning having now been delivered to McKenzie Friends (and others), the court might be less clement in future.
Fair enough, and I who am footing the bill (Sabine after a lifetime of good public works and having since her ‘exile’ last summer been deprived of her UK state pension and DLA is destitute!) feel very relieved that we have survived this tussle with the State not too greatly out of pocket (our kind barrister assured us his bill will be modest) as I have to pay off the rest of my mortgage this spring or lose my house!!
All in all, it feels like money well spent, to have achieved this particular outcome yesterday, and that the role of McKenzie Friends in the justice system has been simultaneously confirmed and clarified.
So we can fight on for victims and justice and above all for the children, forever our overriding concern until all of them are properly protected from all harm in UK and throughout this planet.
To all who expressed their support in so many kind messages and to those who joined us in court 64 RCJ yesterday, as I know many more would have done had you been able –THANK YOU! – your moral support is absolutely what counts in all these battles!
In Neelu’s hearing this morning at Blackfriars Crown Court, the judge decided not to deal with the Application to Dismiss the case on this occasion but to join her and Sabine’s cases together, they being more or less identical. So Sabine’s Plea and Case Management Hearing on 7 March has been transmuted into a Plea & Pre-Trial Hearing for both her and Neelu, to be heard + the Application to Dismiss on Friday 8 April, again at Blackfriars Crown Court. This gives more time to both parties to coordinate their defence and gather the evidence needed to disprove the CPS case, that they intended to intimidate the witnesses or that there was any kind of conspiracy between them to do so.
Have a great weekend and onwards we all go!
PS. Yesterday’s report about the hearing is here.
The Law Gazette writes about our victory:
A day earlier this publication appeared – with lots of comments: