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Pension Advisory Group: An update of activities

Empirical and anecdotal evidence has demonstrated the need for a guide to pensions on divorce for the benefit of judges, legal and financial practitioners and the divorcing public.  This is a complex field and there is scant guidance from case law. The Pension Advisory Group (PAG) was convened in mid-2017 with the purpose of producing a good practice guide for professionals in the field about the issues relating to pensions on divorce. It is a multi-disciplinary group of judges, academics, actuaries, pension advisors, a mediator, family lawyers including solicitors and barristers, and pensions lawyers, all of whom have experience in the field of pensions on divorce. It includes representatives of the Association of District Judges, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Resolution, the Law Society, the Family Law Bar Association and the Family Justice Council. A full list of members is given below. The project has the support of the Family Justice Council and the President of the Family Division and is partially funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

What we have been doing
Since its inception, PAG has deliberated and invited feedback from practitioners on the issues to be addressed. It has produced two draft reports for consultation which may be found here.  It has also held focus groups with family lawyers and pension experts, conducted an on-line survey, and given presentations at numerous events around England and Wales. PAG is very grateful to all those who have participated in these exercises, which have provided invaluable insights into day to day practice. The group has now analysed the feedback, discussed revisions to the report, and is in the process of preparing the final drafts of a combined, professional guide with detailed appendices.  Our new target date for publication of the final guide is 30 June 2019.

The Family Justice Council and Advice Now (Law for Life) have also offered assistance in producing a much-simplified guide for non-specialists and the divorcing public. The target date for on-line publication of this guide is the end of September 2019.

Who we are
The membership of PAG (listed alphabetically in each category) currently comprises:

Co-Chairs: Mr Justice Francis, His Honour Judge Edward Hess.

"CEO": Hilary Woodward, former family solicitor and mediator, lead author of the first major study of the treatment of pensions in matrimonial cases: Pensions on Divorce: an empirical study (2014, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, administered by Cardiff University), currently Honorary Research Associate at Cardiff School of Law and Politics.

Academic members: Professor Rosemary Hunter, Professor of Law and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Kent, academic member of the Family Justice Council; Joanna Miles, Reader in Family Law and Policy, University of Cambridge and member of the Family Justice Council "financial needs" working party; and Professor Debora Price, former family law barrister, now Professor of Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester.

Legal members: Robin Ellison and Simon Tyler (pensions lawyers), James Copson, Pauline Fowler (chair of Resolution pensions, tax and financial remedy committee), Fiona Hay, Sarah Hoskinson, Mena Ruparel (on behalf of the Law Society), David Salter, Christopher Sharp QC (family and personal injury specialist), Rhys Taylor, Philip Way and DJ Barbara Wright (on behalf of ADJ).

Mediator: Dominic Raeside, Head of Mediation, Family Law in Partnership and mediation member of the Family Justice Council.

Expert members:  Paul Cobley, Philip Ingram, David Lockett, George Mathieson, Richard Nobbs, Kate Routledge, Ian Sharpe (on behalf of IFoA) and Clive Weir.

Philip Doggart kindly represented the IFoA on a temporary basis pending Ian Sharpe's appointment. Nick Forrest of Price Waterhouse Coopers has given welcome assistance on valuation issues. Peter Moore and Geoffrey Wilson have made substantial contributions as members of the group but have now retired. Val le Grice QC, who represented the FLBA and contributed much to PAG, very sadly died on 24 December 2018.

Hilary Woodward