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The facetious comments comparing McKenzie friends with self taught surgeons, dentists and so on miss an essential difference: in court an independent lawyer of some experience will decide the case, whoever presents it. The analogy, while perhaps amusing, is wrong.

I have never dealt with a McKenzie friend that I recall, but from comments here and in earlier pieces it seems there are good 'uns and bad 'uns. If they are used because litigants cannot afford solicitors, they are unlikely to be taking away business; rather, they are providing some form of assistance to litigants who wouldn't otherwise litigate. We may regret the diminution of legal aid, but in these straitened times I can't see any serious prospect of civil legal aid being restored to whatever its glory days were.

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