DNA tests are being made available free of charge in family law cases, justice minister Simon Hughes has announced.
The move is an attempt to speed up the resolution of family disputes where the paternity of a child is in question.
The project is being run by Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) and funded by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
Hughes made the comments while speaking at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum debate in London.
“We are funding DNA tests which will sort out the problem about who the father is rather than having three days of legal argument.”
Tests to assess if people have been abusing drugs and alcohol will also be available.
If the scheme is successful, it could help alleviate the backlog in the family courts created by people representing themselves.
Self-representation has been on the rise since legal aid was cut for family law cases in April 2013.
Hughes said it would be better if people did not go to court at all for family disputes.
“I don’t think that the state should be there to justify work for lawyers.”
The justice minister said his “vision” of the family courts is that they become “advice centres” which will inform people of their rights and point them in the right direction when a dispute arises.
Question. Isn’t that what law firms do and in particular Law Centres many of which had to close due to lack of funding?