Success in obtaining DNA material before the President of the Family Division

July 1, 2014

Matthew has successfully represented the Local Authority in Re Z (Children) [2014] EWHC 1999 (Fam), a case which concerned the issue of whether or not a man is the father of children, as he claims, despite his refusal to agree to a DNA test. DNA, believed to be that of the father, was gathered at the scene of the murder of the mother, a crime for which the man is currently serving life. The guardian of the children had sought to use the DNA collected in order to determine the paternity of the children concerned, the President found in favour of this.

In his judgement, the President of the Family Division Sir James Munby stated:

“As Mr Matthew Stott on behalf of the local authority points out, because X is not named on their birth certificates, the local authority has at present sole parental responsibility for the children. Moreover, as he also points out, Hogg J has already, in making orders under section 21 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969, determined that it is in the interests of the children that the truth, whatever it may be, should out. I agree with Mr Stott that the material being sought is vitally important for the ongoing care planning for the children. I agree with him that in light of the circumstances of their mother’s death it is fundamentally important for the children to have the opportunity to understand their family history and ascertain their familial identity.”

The case will now be proceed to the Court of Appeal.