DNA tests in family courts will be provided across England from later this year, Justice Minister Simon Hughes has announced.
From September all family court judges in England will be able to order DNA tests to determine a child’s parentage.
This follows 2 pilot schemes in Taunton and Bristol which were set up following anecdotal evidence that courtroom arguments led to delays in divorce cases, particularly where parentage was in question.
Findings from the pilots suggest the tests mean judges could be more confident when making decisions about children and, most importantly, parents would be more likely to follow the court’s orders.
Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:
"I am determined that all cases involving children should be resolved quickly and wherever possible outside court."
"However when they do come to court they should be resolved in a civilised way so that children don’t suffer. Unambiguous and conclusive DNA tests will prove parentage and help to end acrimonious and embarrassing court battles."
The west of England pilots also explored whether alcohol and drug tests could be restricted without a means test to cases where their findings were determinative in family court cases. These results were inconclusive, so the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) will test and develop a new model for delivering drugs and alcohol testing over coming months which is both affordable and provides the courts with the certainty they need.
The funding for DNA testing in private family law cases follows the introduction last year of the biggest reforms to the family justice system for a generation. These have placed children at the heart of every case and have cut to 29 weeks the time which care cases are taking.
The reforms have included:
Story courtesy of gov.uk
Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.
What three words best describe you?
Force. Of. Nature
If you were stuck on a desert island, and could take one person and one object, who and what would they be?
Well I suppose I should say my husband but I’m [...]
Social workers are being hit by the cost-of-living crisis both professionally, and personally.
This week the British Association of Social Workers has warned that “the cost-of-living crisis is a crisis for social workers”.
While social workers frequently witness the impact of rising energy bills and increased living costs on the people they work with, they are [...]
Inspirational, positive role models, game-changing in terms of equality and raising expectations for young girls – these are just some of the accolades that have been lauded at England’s female football team since their Euro 2022 win on Sunday.
The sensational victory of the England women’s football team at Euro 2022 has inspired many young [...]