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DNA paternity testing in family law cases

If you receive an application for an amended certificate for DNA paternity testing, seek the following information:

  • Check if a legal aid certificate has been granted
  • Is the other party legally aided?
  • Is the paternity of the child a fact in issue in the proceedings?

Grant the application if (both factors are true):

  • The welfare of a child is the subject matter of the proceedings
  • The paternity of the child is a fact in issue

Consider refusing the application if:

  • Neither of the above factors are true. (But note distinction between DNA paternity testing for family law cases and DNA testing in asylum and immigration cases).
    [Refuse having regard to s24(a) and (b)]

The terms of the grant will be:

  • The parties will each pay 50% of the cost of the DNA testing
  • The Board will pay half of the applicant’s share– in other words, 25% of the total cost
  • The applicant will pay the remainder of their share up front (another 25%)
  • If the applicant’s contention regarding the alleged paternity of the child is found to be true, the Board will refund the 25% that the applicant paid up front.
  • The solicitor will be required to make an application for the costs of the DNA testing to the Court and advise the other party in advance. If successful in this they should inform Legal Services.

The above terms will be incorporated into any amended legal aid certificate authorising DNA testing.

For accounting purposes, the monies recovered in respect of DNA testing should be lodged to the Board’s main current account and should be recorded as “other” on the bank lodgement  notification form with a brief explanation provided, i.e. DNA testing and legal aid certificate number.