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‘Court rent accounts’, McKenzie Friends and allegedly inducing breach of contract.


I was going to finish off a very overdue post on a very interesting s.204 appeal on suitability, but that will have to wait – maybe tomorrow – because my jaw has just dropped on seeing this case report from Landmark Chambers.

Let me just outline what has allegedly happened.

Katrina McCarthy was apparently acting as a McKenzie Friend for a Notting Hill Genesis tenant. Notting Hill assert that in the course of ‘assisting’ the tenant, Katrina McCarthy

induced the tenant to start paying his rent directly into her own bank account.  She had represented to the tenant that she would then transfer the funds into a ‘court rent account’ so that he could ‘offset’ his rent whilst a disrepair dispute with Notting Hill was resolved. 

This was in 2019.

Now, for any non-lawyers reading this, if this is what McCarthy did tell the tenant, it is complete nonsense. There is no such thing as a ‘court rent account’ , indeed no such thing as a payment into court any more, at least in the County Court. Plus, it appears that there weren’t any live disrepair proceedings at court in any event.

Sadly, the tenant apparently believed her. Rent stopped being paid to NHG in 2019.

In June 2023, NHG obtained a possession order against the tenant on mandatory rent arrears grounds, with arrears at £23,000. (There is a question here – see comment  below.) Katrina McCarthy was a McKenzie Friend for the tenant in the possession proceedings (presumably without actually returning any of the money to reduce the arrears).

NHG then sought and obtained a without notice freezing injunction against Katrina McCarthy and any assets she has on the basis that she had tortiously induced the tenant’s breach of contract.  This order was continued by HHJ Dight CBE on 31 July 2023.

Katrina McCarthy, still apparently “director / barrister at. Law / legal consultant at McCarthys legal Services Consultancy“, has considerable form. Though she was called to the Bar, she never completed pupillage and was not qualified as a practising barrister. This did not stop her appearing at Hammersmith County Court in 2014/2015 to represent a claimant in an action against the police and tell the Judge she was instructed by solicitors. This did not go well, and resulted in the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal disbarring her in 2016.

She then faced fraud charges in 2018 for allegedly giving false documents to Hammersmith & Fulham Council in support of a homeless application.


We have to be clear that these are allegations, not findings, albeit ones apparently supported by enough prima facie evidence for the grant and continuation of a freezing injunction – a drastic remedy that is not granted lightly.

But nonetheless, an illustration of the potential perils of unregulated legal advice and assistance. Someone could do this without the tenant client having any real recourse, let alone call on professional indemnity insurance.

Congratulations to NHG for taking this action against someone allegedly preying on one of their tenants. It isn’t clear if NHG have taken any action to enforce the possession order, but given that these proceedings followed the possession order very rapidly, I very much suspect that they haven’t, as it would be extremely hard to pursue eviction alongside this action against McCarthy. If that is right, again congratulations to NHG (not something I say often, but where it is merited…).


Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

1 Comment

  1. Chris

    It says on the landlord’s website [which has a link to your blog] that they’re “working with the resident to keep them in their home”.

    That was posted on 16 August 2023 which was the date by which Ms McCarthy should have responded to the claim according to what was reported in the Gazette.

    I expect we’re all curious as to what the result of the landlord’s ‘ongoing legal battle with Ms McCarthy’ will be, but if she’s spent the money and has no assets the chances of getting the money back won’t be great.


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