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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

06 JUL 2006

Martin-Dye v Martin-Dye: The Unanswered Questions

David Salter, Solicitor, Addleshaw Goddard, Leeds, Manchester and London. Nearly 6 years after the introduction of pension sharing in December 2000, it has become increasingly apparent to family lawyers that guidance from the Court of Appeal on the treatment of pensions in ancillary relief applications is becoming essential. There have so far been a number of instances where tangential guidance has proved possible, for example, Cowan v Cowan [2001] EWCA Civ 679, [2001] 2 FLR 192 and Maskell v Maskell [2001] EWCA Civ 858, [2003] 1 FLR 1138. In Martin-Dye, pensions occupied centre stage: expectations were therefore high. The opportunity to give general guidance was perhaps limited due to the fact that the pensions involved were already in payment. Nonetheless, the author says that the decision of the Court of Appeal leaves many critical questions unanswered and does, therefore, represent a missed opportunity. The unanswered questions include how should the value of an off-set be calculated? While it cannot be said that the Court of Appeal has given the detailed guidance hoped for in many quarters, the most important aspect of the decision has been to stress the need for expert evidence, where this is proportionate. The author provides a summary of the facts in the case, the legislative background, details regarding the hearing before the district judge and the appeals to the High Court and Court of Appeal. See August [2006] Fam Law 666 for the full article.

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