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The UK Legal Process


If there is a dispute about the paternity of a child, the UK courts have the right to order a paternity test. This test is usually based on DNA samples taken from the child and the alleged father. Maternal DNA samples may also be taken, depending on the nature of the court order.

Accredited Bodies for a Paternity Test

A court-ordered paternity test must be carried out by an accredited body. These accredited organisations must have proved that they work to certain standards and agreed to work within the government’s guidelines on testing and on advertising their services. When the court order is made, you may be given a list of accredited testing bodies, and their charges. You will have to pay for your part of the test; if the mother is also being tested, you will share the costs between you.

You cannot get a court-directed paternity DNA test on the NHS (view article about paternity testing and NHS here), so you must be prepared to pay for the test privately. It is vital that you use an accredited testing body, or the results may not be admissible in court. Here is the answer to your question how do I get a paternity test?

The Paternity Test Process

If you are taking part in a court-directed test, you must make sure that you follow the guidelines for taking samples. These include:

  • Finding Someone to Take Your Sample – a court-ordered DNA test does not allow you to take your own sample, or that of your alleged child. The samples must be taken by a medically-qualified person, such as your GP. You can arrange this yourself, or the testing body may have a list of local medical professionals who can help. You may have to pay for their services.
  • Identification – the testing body will want to see proof that they are testing the right people. You will need to bring two full-faced passport photographs with you to the paternity test – for each person being tested. The sampler must sign these to say that they are a true likeness of the person(s) they are testing.
  • Sampling – the medical professional handling your samples should make sure that they follow the guidelines exactly so that there is no danger of your samples becoming contaminated or degraded. They should place the final samples in the envelopes provided, along with your photographs and any other forms that are required, and send them back to the testing body – click here for more about sample collection.

By following the correct procedure and using an approved testing body, you are increasing your chances of the paternity test being accurate and of the court accepting its findings.

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