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NZ McKenzie Friend Declaration

Since the end of 2003, persons appearing at New Zealand Family Courts in the role of a McKenzie Friend have been forced to sign a contract like the one on this page. The legality of of removing or limiting the traditional right to support in Court has yet to be tested by appeal to a higher authority. McKenzie Friends have been banned from the Family Court for refusing to sign, or altering clauses such as:

"Not to discuss anything, or disclose details of anything, arising in any Family Court hearing with or to any third person".

According to Court Staff at Waitakere, the contact was written by Judge Mather.

Between [name] Applicant

And [name] Respondent

Undertakings by proposed 'Mckenzie Friend" (Lay assistant)

I [name]
Of [address]

Understand and accept the following conditions relating to my proposed role as Mckenzie Friend for [name].

  1. Acceptance of me as Lay Assistant and of the extent of my involvement in any Court hearing are decisions to be made by the presiding Judge at any Court hearing.
  2. I have discussed the case with the party seeking my appointment and I am in a position to assist him/her with their case in Court.
  3. I accept to that my role in Court is to: [fill in the blank]
  4. I accept that I will not be allowed to address the court and will not take any active part in the proceedings myself.
  5. I understand that Family Court proceedings are closed to the public and I undertake:
    1. Not to show or copy any Family Court papers to any third party;
    2. Not to discuss anything, or disclose details of anything, arising in any Family Court hearing with or to any third person including any representative from the media;
    3. Not to take a written notes in Court for any purpose other than to assist the party;
    4. To hand to the Registrar, if requested, any notes made by me in Court;
    5. Not to tape-record any proceedings in Court;
    6. Not to publish, all cause to be published, or assist in publishing, in any way, any communications, reports, papers, press releases, web page notices, or any documents which relate in any way to these proceedings.
  6. I understand and accept that the above confidentiality obligations apply equally to a support person under s83(2) of the Domestic Violence Act as to a Mckenzie Friend in Family Court proceedings generally.
  7. I acknowledged that any breach of confidentiality of Family Court proceedings may render me liable to criminal prosecution for an offence which carries a penalty of imprisonment.
  8. I understand that the presiding Judge may terminate my role as lay assistant for the party at any time.

Dated [xxth] day of 200[x]
Signed by the said:

In the presence of:
(Deputy Registrar)

Memorandum 200270 attach 2.doc

This form must be filled out by the parent intending to appoint a McKenzie Friend

In the Family Court
Held at [name of court] FP [case number]

Between [name] Applicant

And [name] Respondent

Application to appoint "Mckenzie Friend" (Lay Assistant)

I the above named applicant/respondent
apply to have [name]
of [address], [occupation]

Accepted by the Court as my "Mckenzie Friend" on the following basis:

  1. I do not have a lawyer representing me.
  2. I wish to have a lay person assist me with my case in Court.
  3. I have discussed my case with my proposed assistant, and he/she is sufficiently familiar with it to be able to assist me in Court.
  4. I have read and accepted the undertakings signed by my proposed assistant.
  5. I accept that the presiding Judge at any Court hearing will decide whether or not my assistant can be present and the extent of his/her involvement on my behalf.

Dated [xxth] day of 200[x]

Signed by the said:

In the presence of:
(deputy registrar)