‘I’m not just a family solicitor, but also a strategist and human rights adviser,’ says Zoë Fleetwood, partner in the children department of Dawson Cornwell, an international family law firm known for a progressive and enterprising approach.
According to Fleetwood, it’s been a busy year, with the firm receiving continued instructions to represent many vulnerable children in court proceedings, as well as well-known high profile individuals. ‘The team’s caseload has continued to be varied and interesting, including issues around psychological parenthood, re-opening of fact finding and the return of a child from Egypt,’ she says.
Fleetwood has also dealt with cases that involve everything from child abduction through to wardship, domestic violence, forced marriage, special guardianship and adoption, inter-country adoption, the 1996 convention for cross border placements and EU regulations.
‘When I was approached by Dawson Cornwell in 2011 to join their highly regarded team, I was hugely flattered,’ she explains.
‘Since joining the firm, repeat referrals that come in to us from industry contacts confirm that the team are widely known for their excellence and expertise.’
Back in 2016, Fleetwood gained media attention for her successful representation of a terminally ill 14-year-old girl who wished to be cryogenically preserved.
An advocate for increased investment into the criminal justice system, Fleetwood says that transparency in the family court has also been under the spotlight. ‘We continue to find ways to manage this and strike a balance between maintaining public confidence in court proceedings and securing the privacy of families,’ she adds.
Fleetwood has recently been nominated by the membership of Resolution to continue to sit on its National Committee for a further three years. ‘I shall embrace this challenge by prioritising the review of the 2012 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act,’ she says.
Well known for her meticulous children’s work, Fleetwood’s peers highlight her ‘clarity of thought’ and her ‘ highly supportive and engaging manner,’ as well as pointing out her ‘very strong commitment to ensuring that the very best possible outcomes are achieved for children.’
When she’s not in the office, Fleetwood can be found relaxing by attending hot yoga classes and visiting the Lake District.