Support Persons

What is a Support Person?

Although unbundled lawyers, including legal coaches, provide help and support to people who may have to represent themselves in court (self-represented litigants, or “SRLs”), the “support persons” we are referring to here are trusted friends or family members who may accompany you to court to provide emotional support, take notes or organize documents.

A support person does not provide legal advice or representation.

You must ask the judge for permission for this person to sit beside you and help you through the process.

You may see them referred to, from time to time, as “McKenzie Friends" or "courtroom companions."

When/how can I use a support person?

The Provincial Court of BC recognizes that many self-represented litigants find that having a support person in court can be a big help, and have adopted guidelines to make it easier to bring a support person to court in family and small claims trials and hearings. The Provincial Court welcomes support persons, although a judge may refuse to allow a support person if their presence would be disruptive or unfair. Please read the guidelines here.

For other Provincial Court matters and other courts where the Guidelines don't apply, you may have to ask a judge permission to have a support person or McKenzie friend with you in the courtroom. Please read the National Self-Represented Litigants Project resource, “The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion."