Saturday, 13 August 2016

What does Parental Responsibility mean?

The statutory definition of “Parental Responsibility “includes the “rights, duties and responsibilities of the parent”.

The Court held in a 2015 case that warring parents are too often focused on their rights and overlook or minimise their duties and responsibilities.   The Judge went on to state that Parental Responsibility is much more than a legal concept but a fundamentally important reflection of the realities of the human condition and the very essence of a parent/child relationship.  It signifies both parents’ duties to their child.

This case related to a situation where the children refused to spend time with their Father and the Mother did not assist by exhibiting hostility towards the Father in the presence of the children. 

No matter what the age of the child, parents should not shirk their responsibility by sheltering behind a child’s refusal to do something. 

Parenting, particularly of headstrong teenagers, is very tough, but parental responsibility did not shrivel away in relation to such children and they have to do their level best to ensure compliance by the children.

This article is for information only.

If you require help or legal advice please contact us on 0191 213 1010 or on

We can speak to you on the phone for 20 minutes at no charge.

We also offer fixed fees.

Friday, 5 August 2016

I am going to Court on my own as I cannot afford a solicitor – can I take someone with me for support?

Yes you are allowed to take someone with you for support. 

This person could be termed “A McKenzie Friend” and they can:
• Provide you with moral support;
• Take notes;
• Help with case papers;
• Quietly give you advice on any aspect of the conduct of the case.

A McKenzie Friend cannot:
• Act as your agent in relation to the proceedings.
• Manage your case outside of court, for example by signing documents on your behalf.
• Address the Court, make oral submissions or examine witnesses.

A McKenzie Friend should not have any personal interest in the case, they should understand their role and understand the importance of confidentiality.

Normally a McKenzie Friend would be allowed into Court unless fairness and justice does not require, so unless there was a valid reason then there should not be any objections to their attendance with you in Court.

At Newcastle Family Court you can also ask for assistance from the PSU who can also help you with filling in court forms.

This article is for information only.

Please contact us if you require help or detailed legal advice on 0191 213 1010 or on

We will speak to you on the phone for 20 minutes for no charge.