National Committee Elections 2021

Each year the membership votes new members onto the National Committee. National Committee is Resolution's equivalent to a board of directors. This election is your chance to choose the people you want to play a key strategic role in leading our organisation.

Meet your candidates for the National Committee elections

There are five positions open on Resolution’s National Committee which are being contested in this election by six candidates.

Members will receive an email from Civica Election Services with a unique link allowing you to vote in the contest. If you have any questions about the voting process please contact Civica, who are administering these elections on behalf of Resolution, on 020 8889 9203.

Voting begins at 12 noon on 24 May
Voting closes at 9am on 11 June
Results announced on 16 June at Resolution’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

See below the candidates’ statements.

Melanie Bataillard-Samuel

Serving on National Committee has been an enormous privilege, working with members and our staff team to ensure the many and varied interests of our membership are represented in Resolution’s work across the country For the last 3 years I have also co-chaired the Innovation Group, supporting members to identify new ways of working in family law. I was proud to work with members to launch our Affordable Advice pilot, with the charity Law for Life, to open up free or low-cost legal advice to those who may not otherwise be able to access it. Having trained as both a mediator and a collaborative lawyer, I understand the benefits to clients and members of a multi-disciplinary approach; it enables practitioners to live and breathe the Code of Practice in all aspects of their work.  If re-elected to NC, I am keen to ensure that the Code continues to be at the heart of everything we do for and on behalf of our members. In a fast changing world, I want to support members by working on National Committee to build on the training we offer to all our members. Further to the successful no fault divorce campaign, I would like to see Resolution continue to campaign for positive changes in family law that will lead to better outcomes for families.

Claire Blakemore

I've been on NC for the past three years, and served on the Skills and Support working group for over 10 years, where I was the former Chair. When I previously stood for NC I talked about my keen interest to help steer through the many changes coming in family law, and Resolution being best placed to support members and clients through those changes. This is more relevant and important now than ever before. Through the pandemic Resolution has shown its best by developing and providing training, guidance and other resources to support all our members to navigate a path through these challenging times. I am proud of what we have achieved together. I am seeking re-election in order to continue to use my experience in and enthusiasm for innovation and change in order to help Resolution shape the future of family law for you, our members, and our clients.

Caroline Elliott

Since being elected to NC 3 years ago, it has been a source of great pride to be part of the team delivering so much for separating families, and the professionals who support them. Being involved in developing the strategy and future vision with NC and the staff team means we are making a difference in providing support for our members during challenging conditions for all working in family justice. This is particularly true of our YRes members, and it is vital we retain a sharp focus on access to knowledge and training as they build their careers. The many different areas of work NC are involved in – from major policy campaigns to the nuts and bolts of running the organisation – together with the challenges of Covid, mean continuity is hugely valuable right now. With your support, I will continue to bring my experience as a collaborative practitioner, mediator and litigator, to ensure National Committee continues to represent all members across the country.

Elizabeth Jones

I studied at Cardiff University and qualified as a Solicitor in 1991 starting life as a general litigator. I am employed by Parfitt Cresswell in Fulham London. I am standing to create measures to relieve work stress . Most of us will know of colleagues who are struggling to cope and whose lives have been blighted by depression, anxiety, psychosomatic illnesses and alcohol abuse. A great start would be to ensure that those seeking to enter the profession have realistic expectations and for our clients to have more certainty of outcome. I have a keen interest in the Arts and was a regular opera, concert and theatre goer . I also have a keen interest in cinema and am on the management team of an Anglo Russian Film Festival. This has given an extra dimension with regard to awareness of geopolitics and the contentious and non-contentious legal side of organising such festivals. I unwind with a good film and am a huge fan of film directors Andrzej Wadja, Nicholas Winding Refn, Vishal Bhardwaj and Andrea Arnold. My favourite statute is the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act 1879.

Farhana Shahzady

As a family practitioner with 20 years’ experience – and active Resolution member throughout – I know how invaluable the training, skills development, networking and social element of membership is. Resolution trained me as a mediator and collaborative lawyer. The support Resolution provides is particularly important as we adjust to the post pandemic landscape. I am seeking re-election to NC in order to continue to shape our offer to members whilst also campaigning for diversity within our profession and increasing access to justice for those who most need it.  During my time on National Committee, I have also served on the Publications Committee, publishing the new Family Law Handbook. Writing the financial remedies chapter with Andrew Newbury was a personal highlight! There’s no doubting the many challenges ahead and I will continue to work to develop a thriving and diverse Resolution membership, which I am confident will help the profession flourish and meet those challenges.

Elspeth Thomson

I am currently on the NC and co-chair the legal aid committee. Having worked in legal aid throughout my career I understand how legal aid cuts have impacted on members and our vulnerable clients. If re-elected, I will continue to champion legal aid members, by keeping the pressure on government and others to improve access to justice, in the interests of our members and the clients they support.  I am the managing partner of David Gray Solicitors in Newcastle, a higher rights advocate and arbitrator specialising in Children Law. I also present the annual Resolution Children Law update at National Conference, when we’re not contending with a global pandemic! I am often in court and understand the issues care lawyers face, and want to ensure they have a strong voice on National Committee. If re-elected I will continue to work in the interests of all members, across the country, to support the valuable work we all do.