Cafcass and DNA legal, the government approved laboratory, are now able to facilitate DNA testing when the court finds there is disputed paternity in private cases. This change is welcomed by legal professionals as it is intended to speed up the court process by having the funds to conduct DNA testing where before, this was not always covered. Some family court judges have commented on the time wasted debating paternity that could have been solved much quicker by a DNA test.
The circumstances in which this will be available are limited to ‘an application that has been made for a Child Arrangement order under s 8 of the Children Act 1989..which cannot be determined unless a dispute about the paternity of the child is resolved… and the parents or persons with care of the child are prepared to cooperate with the direction made by the court.’ This is governed by s20 Family Law Reform Act 1969.
The procedure will be managed by Cafcass, only those who have undertook thorough training will be deemed competent enough to oversee and collect the sample, aiming to have results returned within six weeks of receiving a court order. DNA legal claim it will be ‘completed in an efficient, cost effective manor supporting thousands of individuals who find themselves needing to establish paternity each year.’
For more information please read the Cafcass Leaflet on Completing a DNA test.