Ah DNA Know tha’

*NB title must be spoken with Glaswegian accent to get the full pun effect*

Sometimes when I get really bored I look up pointless bits of law. And sometimes I happen upon them in the course of some actual legal research in furtherance of my case.

And so here is a little nugget I tripped across this week.

DNA tests? Obviously joint expense, split equally between all parties?

Mais non….

See s20(6) Family Law Reform Act 1969 which says

Where a direction is given under this section [s20 FLRA gives power to the court to direct a bodily sample be taken] the party on whose application the direction is given shall pay the cost of taking and testing bodily samples for the purposes of giving effect to the direction (including any expenses reasonably incurred by any person in taking any steps required of him for the purpose), and of making a report to the court under this section, but the amount paid shall be treated as costs incurred by him in the proceedings.

So alright, where everyone agrees it’s necessary – a consensus is often reached in care proceedings that it is required because there is a genuine uncertainty – it is legitimate to split the costs. But a putative father who applies for a DNA test, or a Local Authority who asks the parents to undergo one – must pay for the cost of that testing. They have a hypothetical prospect of recovering those costs at the end of the proceedings, but it seems likely to remain hypothetical in most cases.

A point of mere pedantry, but a provision which I had to rely on on behalf of an impecunious Mother recently who could not pay the half of the DNA test that the LAA were likely to say she should pay.

9 thoughts on “Ah DNA Know tha’

  1. Gene-ius! Sorry, Have a good weekend!

  2. This may be old-fashioned but here goes.

    If the mother and the putative father were married, and he denies paternity, he should put his hand in his pocket up-front. If he turns out to be right he should get it all back from whoever claimed he was the father; it it was the wife and he is maintaining her he should be allowed to stop it from the maintenance until it is paid.

    If they were not married, the position is reversed, and whoever says he was the father should pay up front and if successful get it back from him – if it’s there to be got.

    • Maybe. Neither applied in my case though. And FLRA is clear. S/he who asks pays, unless the court makes any different order at the end of the case.

  3. If the LA were involved then surely mother would be legally aided unless it was some sort of s37 situation?

    • Yes. But my case did not involve LA so no legal aid for Mum (dad got funding pre-LASPO cut off). Even if funded the LAA would argue they should only pay an equal share, cos that’s what they do (and usually they are right).

  4. Hope you don’t mind my asking but how much does a DNA paternity test cost now?

  5. Slightly off the topic but I’ve ‘come across’ a few Dads who wanted certainty regarding their paternity. Rather than going through the process of getting it done through the court they’ve just used a mail order service that’s available in NZ and Oz. The cost is about $500. These aren’t admissable in court (but they are accurate) the father can then go to court with the accurate knowledge prior to asking for a court ordered one (or not) depending on the result.

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