Funded DNA testing in private law disputes
It has been announced by the Justice Minister, Simon Hughes, that DNA testing which is required to establish paternity within private law disputes will be funded by Cafcass, beginning later this year.
Of course, it has long been possible for the Family Court to order DNA testing to establish paternity, but concerns were raised as to how such testing would be funded following Legal Aid cuts and the rise of litigants in person. A pilot scheme took place in two areas (Bristol and Taunton) and it was found that the expert evidence was essential in cases where disputed paternity arises. The availability of expert reports meant that the Judiciary were better-informed in their decision-making and the parties were more likely to adhere to the orders. Cases were less adversarial as a result.