Meet the Committee Member

Zoe Fleetwood

How long have you been involved with Resolution?

 I have been a Resolution member since qualifying in 2003. I joined the Resolution London Committee shortly after qualifying, to become part of a forward-thinking and vibrant community.

What committees do you sit on?

I am an elected member of the National Committee and I sit on the Family Law Reform Committee. It is a huge privilege to be involved at the coal face of family law reform.

Why did you want to get involved with Resolution? 

I was initially attracted by the values captured in the Resolution Code of Practice.

How have you benefitted from being a member of Resolution?

Where to start?! Being a member gives me access to updates on law reform, and an opportunity to contribute and campaign in areas that need reform. Resolution has no less than 28 specialist committees and over 25 Good Practice Guides, and a huge library of precedents. Membership gives me access to training and learning and an invaluable network of like-minded professionals. These resources help me to achieve excellence in my field.

What’s the one Resolution resource/service/achievement that you want everyone to know about?

It has to be the Resolution Code of Practice. The commitment to practice family law and advise clients whilst bearing in mind the long-term co-parenting relationship and focusing on the best interests of any children and avoiding use of inflammatory language, is key to practising law responsibly.

What would you say to encourage more members to become volunteers with Resolution?

You will get an opportunity to build a network of like-minded individuals who share a passion for disseminating best practice tips and keeping up to speed with the myriad of changes.

Why did you choose family practice?

I rather fell into family law when I found other areas of law didn’t suit me so well. The combination of the human element and engagement of basic human rights never fails to interest me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Helping people through a tough time has its rewards.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

Often in family law there are no particularly joyous outcomes for everyone. You often have to aim for a satisfactory one.

What do you think have been the biggest changes in family practice/the family justice system since you started out?

Undoubtedly the slashing of access to representation brought about by LASPO has been devastating for many individuals who no longer have access to justice.

What’s the one government policy you would like to see changed or introduced?

Greater access to legal aid by supporting early legal help advice (to keep matters out of court where possible) would be hugely impactful. I am pleased to be part of a consultation on the introduction of such a scheme.

How do you keep a good work/life balance and look after your wellbeing?

I go to hot yoga classes whenever time permits.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in family practice?

A supportive network is invaluable, whether it is a supervisor or a mentor or a network of professionals. Such a network is essential to learning and wellbeing.

If you were not a family solicitor, what would you be doing?

Not a clue.

Who or what inspires you?

I have been inspired by clients, fellow professionals and judges alike, who have shown courage and determination to ensure justice is achieved. I am privileged to work with some very clever people at Mills & Reeve who are at the cutting edge of family law. Their energy and humanity provide vital inspiration.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I feel fortunate to have been involved in some significant cases, including Re H-N and others (Domestic abuse: Finding of fact hearings) [2021] EWCA Civ 448 and In the matter of F (A child) (International relocation cases) [2015] EWCA Civ 882. An unforgettable case was that of Re JS (Disposal of body) [2016] EWHC 2859 (Fam). I represented a young person dying from cancer who sought to be cryogenically frozen on her death. Her courage and dignity coupled with the sensitive and innovative approach of the court was really meaningful.

What can’t you live without?

The Red Book (also known as The Family Court Practice).

Zoe is a head of the children law team at Mills & Reeve, a  Resolution Accredited Specialist in Children Law, Child Abduction and Adoption, and a Solicitor Advocate