The Pension Advisory Group: developing guidance on pensions on divorce

Under the leadership and joint chairmanship of Mr Justice Francis and His Honour Judge Edward Hess, the “Pension Advisory Group” (“PAG”) has been formed.

With the imprimatur of The President of the Family Division, the PAG’s brief is to conduct an interdisciplinary review of how pensions are treated on divorce and to produce a Family Justice Council pension guide for the profession and divorcing public. It is hoped that this may encourage a consistency of practice which is currently lacking.

As with the Family Justice Council and its guidance on financial needs, the PAG has no authority to change the law through any of its publications and it would not purport to do so, merely to seek to explain the current law and to facilitate best practice.

The PAG comprises a multidisciplinary group of judges, academics, actuaries, financial experts, family and pension lawyers drawn from each branch of the legal profession and a family mediator (please click on link below to read full list of members). The group has representatives of both the Family Law Bar Association and Resolution. In addition to involving several of the well-known experts who practice in this field of family law, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has appointed a representative to be part of the PAG and to provide an “outside” perspective.

Led by Hilary Woodward, the academics’ contribution to the project, funded by a Nuffield Foundation grant, will assist in ensuring that the work of PAG is firmly underpinned by objective and academically-defensible methods and analysis, and rooted in what is known from research about the longer term financial consequences of divorce.

The PAG held its first meeting on the 12 June 2017 and aims to conclude its work by the end of 2018.

Your contribution is sought
To inform its work as fully as possible, the PAG would be very interested to hear from members of the judiciary, legal, actuarial and financial professionals, and representatives of special interest groups.

To stay within manageable bounds the PAG’ s membership is necessarily limited. However, the PAG is keen to create a big tent, to listen carefully and engage widely. It hopes to receive contributions from those who may be able to provide insights on the way that the law is currently working and how practice might be improved.

If you are aware of situations where, to your mind, pension issues on divorce have not been resolved in a satisfactory fashion please let us know!

You may get in touch, in the first instance, by emailing Hilary Woodward at

To read about the PAG and its work, please click here: The Pension Advisory Group – 2017

Christopher Sharp QC, family law Silk at St John’s Chambers, is one of the legal members of the newly formed Pensions Advisory Group. He is acknowledged by Chambers UK Bar Directory as one of only five ‘star’ Silks in Family Law in the country.