Publications by Area of Law


Pensions Advisory Group’s interim report and consultation

Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Source: Pensions on Divorce Interdisciplinary Working Group
Date: 19th April 2018
Summary:  Christopher Sharp QC (a member of the Pensions Advisory Group) outlines the nature of the new interim report and consultation launched by the PAG on 18th April 2018.

In 2014 Cardiff University’s Nuffield Foundation funded paper ‘Pensions On Divorce: an empirical study’ provided a detailed investigation into how pensions are actually dealt with in financial remedy cases. It found that the use of pension orders was much less than the government had expected (of the 369 court files studied, 80% revealed at least one relevant pension and yet only 14% contained a pension order) and that off setting pensions against non-pension assets was the most commonly used solution. However, it also found that the economic rationality of that approach, the methodology employed and the fairness of the outcomes it produced was far from clear. An example of the unsatisfactory nature of the arguments deployed in such cases can be seen in the case of WS v WS [2015] EWHC 3941 (Fam) which also highlighted the problems where no expert evidence was available. Another example of the Court being unassisted by expert evidence was seen in the series of decisions in Goyal v Goyal. Case law is neither consistent nor very helpful. Most reported cases involve very substantial sums and as a consequence are sometimes of limited assistance in the more mainstream case where funds are more modest.

The Nuffield Foundation has now published the report of an interdisciplinary working group The Pensions Advisory Group (the PAG) which was set up to address these issues, the object being to improve the practice of dealing with pensions on divorce and to assist those divorcing couples who are not fabulously wealthy but nevertheless hold pensions of some value. The PAG is a multi-disciplinary working group jointly chaired by Francis J and HHJ Edward Hess with the support of the Family Justice Council and the President of the Family Division. Its report is entitled ‘Pensions on Divorce Interdisciplinary Working Group’.

The report can be found here: www.nuffieldfoundation.org/pensions-divorce-interdisciplinary-working-group

The intention is to promote feed back by way of wide consultation. The report is divided into two parts. First there is a section entitled “Legal Issues: draft guidance for consultation”. This seeks to set out the law as the PAG see it, to provide information to assist in understanding the issues raised in pension cases and to suggest good practice.

Second there is a section entitled “Valuation and Expert issues: Draft guidance for consultation” The purpose of this part of the report is to consider best practice in respect of the treatment of pensions in divorce proceedings, and to report on any consensus reached among a wide range of experts and lawyers as to how the valuation of pensions in divorce cases should be approached. The aim of this section of the PAG report is to enable a more standardised approach across experts and cases, ensuring better consistency in outcomes for divorcing parties and making these more predictable for individuals, lawyers, experts and judges. The report also considers the circumstances in which it might be beneficial to engage the services of Pensions on Divorce Experts (PODEs).

The report is the result of extensive work and discussion by a large group of experts from a broad range of backgrounds with the immense assistance of Hilary Woodward of Cardiff Law School. It is hoped that it will prompt wider discussion and feedback so that some authoritative guidance can be issued to assist with this difficult area of financial remedy work.

Anyone with involvement in this area of work is encouraged to respond to the consultation.

Family Affairs February 2018 | Financial Remedy update Nov’ 17 – Feb ‘18

Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Source: FLBA’s Family Affairs: February 2018

Date: February 2018
Summary:  The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from November 2017 – February 2018.

Download article: Family Affairs February 2018 | Nov’ 17 – Feb ‘18 Edition | Financial Remedy update

Family Affairs November 2017 | Financial Remedy update Summer to Autumn

Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Source: FLBA’s Family Affairs: November 2017                                                                             Date: November 2017
Summary:  The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from June 2017 – November 2017.

Download article: Family Affairs November 2017 | Summer to Autumn Edition | Financial Remedy update

Family Affairs June 2017 | Summer Edition | Financial Remedy update (04.03.17 – 13.06.17)

Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Source: FLBA’s Family Affairs: June 2017                                                                                     Date: March 2017
Summary:  The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from March 2017 to June 2017.

Download article: Family Affairs June 2017 | Summer Edition | Financial Remedy update (04.03.17 – 13.06.17)

Family Affairs March 2017 | Financial Remedy update (1.10.16 – 3.03.17)

Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Source: FLBA’s Family Affairs: March 2017                                                                                       Date: March 2017
Summary:  The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from October 2017 to March 2017.

Download article: Family Affairs March 2017 | Financial Remedy update (1.10.16 – 3.03.17)

The Children Act 1989 at 25

Source: Resolution Review Magazine
Barrister: Abigail Bond
Area of Law: Children
Date: February/March 2017
Summary: It is 25 years since the Children Act 1989 came into force. Abigail celebrates its key principles and addresses some of the controversial changes proposed by the Children and Social Work Bill 2016.

Download the full article: The Children Act 1989 at 25: the use and misuse of the “cardinal principle”

For additional Family news items please click here.

Financial remedy update

Source: FLBA’s Family Affairs
Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Date: 7th November 2016
Summary:  The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from June 2016 to October 2016.

Download articles:

One man’s inference is another man’s imputation: logic theory and legal practice in TOLATA 1996 claims

Source: Family Law
Barrister: Andrew Commins
Area of Law: Family Finance
Date: 31st October 2016

Andrew Commins provides an analysis of recent case law on the difference between inference and imputation in TOLATA judgments

View full article: One man’s inference is another man’s imputation: logic theory and legal practice in TOLATA 1996 claims

Financial remedies pot pourri

Source: FLBA’s Family Affairs
Barrister: Christopher Sharp QC
Area of Law: Family Finance, ToLATA and Inheritance
Date: 27th June 2016
Summary:  The article continues Christopher’s regular reviews of the more important recent financial remedy cases, this one covering the period from February 2016 to mid June 2016.

Download articles:

Enforcement of financial remedy orders: Part 1

Source: Family law
Barrister: Zoe Saunders
Area of Law: Family Finance
Date: June 2016

Summary: Zoë Saunders, has published an article on the enforcement of financial remedy orders in the June edition of Family Law. Statistics on enforcement of financial remedy orders are almost impossible to obtain, partly because the options for enforcing court orders are rather a mish-mash of general civil remedies. Anecdotally the majority of orders are complied with either wholly or mostly, but those which are not present the practitioner with a complex series of options, which may or may not be suitable in any specific case; so if you have an order which needs to be enforced what are your options?

Download article: If you subscribe to Family Law, you can read the full article here: Enforcement of financial remedy orders: Part 1