David Salter: Pensions Update

11 JUN 2008

David Salter, Joint National Head of Family Law, Mills and Reeve

Pensions have not, and still do not, occupy centre stage in the family law reports. It is not difficult to see why this should be so. The vast majority of pension sharing orders are made by consent and only very occasionally is the court called upon (as in Martin-Dye v Martin-Dye [2006] EWCA Civ 681, [2006] 2 FLR 901) to give any form of definitive ruling. The decision in Martin- Dye itself proved to be something of a disappointment for family lawyers, leaving many questions unanswered, while nonetheless giving some guidance to practitioners (see D Salter, 'Martin-Dye v Martin-Dye: The Unanswered Questions' [2006] Fam Law 666). Apart from a few cases where pensions have had a peripheral mention there is, however, a rich seam of determinations coming from the Pensions Ombudsman, which deal with the practical workings of pension sharing after an order has been made and point to some of the pitfalls which the practitioner must avoid.

While the courts may not have been very active in the pensions arena, Parliament certainly has. The Pensions Act 2007 and the Pensions Bill currently before Parliament both contain provisions of interest and importance to the family lawyer.

For the full article, see June [2008] Family Law journal.

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