McKenzie friends in court today: Why Sabine and Belinda should pay

As Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie head off for court this morning (RCJ; Court 64; Before MRS JUSTICE SIMLER DBE; Thursday 25 February, 2016; At half past 10), many of our readers are keenly interested in the outcome of their case.

We thought it might be useful to offer some background, to show how matters have proceeded to this pass. As we’ve mentioned, Sabine and Belinda are being required to pay £2,000 in court costs related to the Melissa Laird case. Here’s an extract of the transcript from the hearing two years ago at which those costs were assessed: if you have time to read the entire transcript, it offers a fascinating glimpse at the Laird case, and Sabine and Belinda’s role in it. The hearing was heard before Mrs Justice Simler, who will also be hearing today’s case.

We think the following paragraphs explain a great deal:

113. Very often the court and litigants in person are greatly assisted by the presence or involvement of responsible McKenzie friends in proceedings. But, unfortunately, that is not always the case.In this case, since at least 27 August 2013, the McKenzie friends, Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie, purported to act for and represent the Claimant [Melissa Laird], making applications for renewal and urgent applications to revoke the deportation order or to stay the Claimant’s removal. The serial grounds for renewal, advanced by them on the Claimant’s behalf, have no merit whatever, as I have found. Not only are the individual challenges out of time, but they mostly challenge persons who are not before this court or involve private law matters and are, accordingly, misconceived. The renewed grounds should never have been raised. They have been persisted with, despite the fact that a skeleton argument was served on 14 March by the Secretary of State, affording ample opportunity for them to consider the arguments and reasons advanced as to why they have no merit. The renewed grounds have been persisted in despite a number of court orders and reasons identifying and explaining all the points that make them unarguable.

114. Finally, the McKenzie friends have made no attempt to contact the Defendant [Secretary of State for the Home Department] or to inform the Defendant of the adjournment applications in December, March and now, or, at least, of their likely non-attendance at the hearing today. No explanation for this has been offered by them.

115. I am satisfied that all those matters take this case out of the ordinary, and make it an exceptional case, where rather than help, the McKenzie friends appear on the face of the documents to have considerably aggravated the position by unnecessarily adding to the costs. I am persuaded that there is a basis for making a provisional partial order of costs against them as non-parties, but I am not persuaded that it would be appropriate to do so in respect of the whole of the costs given the Claimant’s own involvement and acquiescence in the steps they appear to have taken from 24 August 2013 onwards.

116. I can only deal with this matter on a broad brush basis. Doing the best I can, I assess the costs for which the McKenzie friends are provisionally responsible in the sum of £2,000. I, therefore, join the two McKenzie friends, Belinda McKenzie and Sabine McNeill, as parties for the purposes only of dealing with costs. This is a provisional order only. They are not present today and they must have the opportunity to apply within seven days for a hearing to show cause why they should not pay the costs of £2,000 that appear to have been unnecessarily incurred in prolonging these proceedings as a consequence of their repeated adjournments without informing Treasury Solicitors and their renewed grounds raising unmeritorious challenges that have been persisted with as already explained. Should they do so, that hearing will be listed and their representations will be considered. If they do not apply within the next seven days, the provisional costs order will take effect. I should say the seven days will run from the date of service of this order on them.

So there you have it: Mrs Justice Simler’s rationale for joining Sabine and Belinda as parties to the Laird case for the purposes of dealing with costs. Short version: “They made an enormous hash of the case, causing it to be drawn out far longer than it ought to have been, dithering and failing to communicate in a timely manner (or even, sometimes, at all), and advancing arguments that are without merit or are basically just ridiculous.

In short, they’ve made a giant mess, and they’re being asked to pitch in to help clean it up.

Let’s hope they can be made to pay their share. And don’t worry, as soon as we hear anything, we’ll be back here with results!

Royal Courts of Justice-interior

39 thoughts on “McKenzie friends in court today: Why Sabine and Belinda should pay

      • Sorry, I’ve not really followed the Melissa Laird case like you guys, so there’s a fair-to-middling chance I was talking utter billhooks there. I’m still looking forward to seeing what happens to Tweedledum and Tweedledee in court today, though 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Probably because the longer the case goes on, the more the spotlight is on their narcissistic selves!

      having an excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.

      You are dealing with sick, twisted, evil women, who have got away with toooooooooooooooooo much. Yep, that’s a lot!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, hoping that eventually it would just go away and they wouldn’t pay.

      I’m hoping the £2000 is greatly increased.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: McKenzie friends in court today: Why Sabine and Belinda should pay | ShevaBurton. Cross of Change Blog

  2. Tell me if I am wrong, but a McKenzie friend is only present in legal proceedings to advise, rather than become in effect a solicitor or barrister to run a case for the individual. Certainly in the case of Sabine McNeill, she has no understanding or respect for the law, and therefore she makes the worst possible person to use to represent a client. Belinda McKenzie runs around in the form of a legal anarchist, she manages to ruin the cases of all she represents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Satanic

    I found an excellent document that describes the role of a McKenzie friend, its a crying shame that sabine or belinda did not read it. Surely them acting for a person in the most important issue in their lives (keeping their child) required them to have at least a basic understanding of what they were doing. Even a person with an IQ of less than room temperature would have thought that.

    Click to access 2014%2004%2017%20MKF_Final.pdf

    To quote parts of that document

    “Judges should be robust in using
    powers available to them, such as
    Civil Restraint Orders, to tackle the
    few disruptive and poor McKenzie
    Friends that serve very little or no
    benefit to their clients. There should
    also be greater transparency to
    expose this minority; this would give
    assurance about the overall
    standards of McKenzie Friends and
    deter and penalise the substandard
    ones. Also, public enforcement
    agencies need to be aware of unfair
    or poor commercial practices and
    act where necessary”

    “The McKenzie Friend concept has
    traditionally been understood to involve
    giving assistance in court, although the
    Practice Guidance also refers to help
    with case papers. It is clear from our
    research that the concept has evolved
    to embrace a far wider service offering
    that covers any form of assistance a
    client might request relating to their
    case, both inside and outside of court.
    The large majority of respondents
    stated they provided the following
    related services: legal research; giving
    advice on points of law and the conduct
    of the case; case management; drafting
    documents; completing forms; and
    obtaining expert evidence. Additional
    services mentioned less often included
    formal coaching courses for litigants in
    person; mediation; peer support; and
    referrals for alcohol and drug testing.
    McKenzie Friends also described
    counselling or pastoral care as a key
    part of their role, although not a service
    in a formal sense that they would sell.”

    “What is a McKenzie Friend?

    Anyone involved in a family law case in a United Kingdom court is entitled to represent themselves in court (they do not need to employ a solicitor or barrister) and if they choose to do this they are termed a Litigant in Person (LIP).

    A LIP may be accompanied by someone to help them and this person is called a McKenzie Friend, named after the case which established the principles in 1970. This is not an automatic right, but a judge would only refuse to allow a LIP to have the help of a McKenzie Friend for a very good reason.

    More and more people are conducting their own Family Law cases in court, without a solicitor or barrister. This is because lawyers’ fees can be very high, and Legal Aid to pay these fees is becoming harder to obtain.

    Representing yourself in court is not as daunting as it may sound, especially if you have the help of a McKenzie Friend to help in preparing the case beforehand and to sit along-side you in court. We will supply a McKenzie Friend when needed.

    How can a McKenzie Friend help?
    What a McKenzie Friend May Do:

    • Provide moral support for the LIP

    • Take notes

    • Help with case papers

    • Quietly give advice on:

    points of law or procedure;
    issues that the litigant may wish to raise in court;
    questions the litigant may wish to ask witnesses.
    What a McKenzie Friend May Not Do
    • A McKenzie Friend has no right to act on behalf of a LIP. He may not act as the LIP’s agent in relation to the proceedings nor manage the case outside court, for example, by signing court documents.

    • A McKenzie Friend is not entitled to address the court, nor examine any witnesses. However, in exceptional circumstances, a judge may grant a McKenzie Friend what is termed “rights of audience” in a particular case. The McKenzie Friend would then be allowed to address the court and conduct the litigant’s case for him”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i think Bellender is very much trying to take a leaf out of Robert Green’s book by dragging out and exaggerating, and blaming everyone else, but her self, just to try and draw in even more nutters, the desperate, and the unfortunate. I have met her twice, and come to the conclusion that it’s almost impossible to ask her questions with out her asking you where you are from. As if you were part of a conspiracy. As for her suggestion to have a Zoo full of paedophiles, some one throw her a Banana

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If they do win, I guess the costs will fall to the claiment, their client, to pay. Nice!

    It would be down to the client to sue them for their failures.

    Normally persons/organisations giving such advice would have a duty to warn of any costs that could be incurred, failure to do so would be negligence. That is why legal firms and even charities have professional indemnity insurance, mistakes do happen.

    This pair are so grossly negligent, without any system or checks, let alone knowledge of their chosen field, I wonder if even if they had insurance it would be void.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I think Belinda and Sabine went to one of the round table discussions mentioned in the consultation document. I think they made and impression.

        The confidentiality thing is good, and important. Put it in VERY BIG WRITING. I can’t say I agree with all the proposals though. The decent McKenzie Friends need to look at it. The fee charging will have an impact on many of them.

        I suppose Sabine will draft a rant about how she and “the public” are competent authorities and satanism, baby eaters, the country’s last greatest hope and all that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No doubt they will. And when the committee fails to include or implement their demands, they’ll squawk about how it’s all a stitch-up to get rid of them.


  6. Any word? It must be lunchtime and I can’t see the hearing lasting more than two hours. I’m on tenterhooks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Belinda has set up tracking of users on her website! Yes she has, or Sabine did it. Are they monetising their sites or trying something more nefarious? They are using this Maybe to track their sent emails, or to track posters on their site. Perhaps to accuse even more people of murdering and raping children?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mandrill is an add-on for the MailChimp email automation system. It’s used when people send out large volumes of email, and want to run data analyses on them, for example to determine which wording works best for a given audience.

      It doesn’t seem likely to me that they’d be able to track visitors to their site simply by using Mandrill. It’s more likely that they plan to run A/B testing on some of their outbound bulk emails–perhaps to determine, for example, how many people click the ‘donate’ button on each batch. This could definitely be used to enhance blog monetization, which they might feel they need if their current case has gone down in flames.


      • I thought it may be something like that. They seem to be bulk mail shot sending. As well as snail mail including that totally rigorously researched satanic abuse rubbish from a religious community.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I think they’ve realised that while blogs are useful, bulk mailings actually realise more profit. And Belinda certainly has a nose for that.


  8. No news is hopefully good news. If they had something to celebrate then i imagine they’d be straight onto the internet to let all their foolish believers know the good news

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Today has been a good day – without doubt Sabrat’s silence is a good sign – had she had even the remotest success then she would have been unable to stop herself blurting it all over the Internet.

    No doubt she’s comforting herself with what ever she drinks from the flask she had in the video of her being arrested. I think alcohol helps fuel her attitude – many times has she been seen in various drinking establishments around the RCJ.

    I understand Holloway has little in the way of a bar, but she will be able to SPICE her life up!

    If she is true to form then her best posts of today will be later this evening (when the drink “helps” her)

    The MOJ posting / review is a good one, its sad that the actions of Sabrat have helped fuel the need for such a review.

    So to use Sabrat’s own words – Onwards and upwards, Hic.

    Liked by 1 person

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