- DNA TESTING OVERVIEWDNA testing overview
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSDNA testing FAQs
- COURT DIRECTEDDNA testing for UK Courts of Law
- FOR IMMIGRATIONTo support UK passport or Visa applications
- PEACE OF MIND TESTS?Cellmark does NOT offer this service - learn why
- DRUG SERVICE OVERVIEWSimple yet comprehensive
- YOUR QUESTIONS ON DRUGSFrequently asked questions
NEW from the UK's most recommended DNA testing service is a simple yet comprehensive UKAS accredited(*) hair drug testing service.
Established in 1987 Cellmark pioneered the introduction of DNA analysis for paternity testing and is the company of choice for many of the UK's leading legal practitioners. Cellmark is accredited by the Ministry of Justice as a body that may carry out parentage tests (otherwise called DNA Testing or Paternity Testing) as directed by the civil courts in England and Wales under section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969.
DNA testing is a complex scientific process which can positively identify relationships between people. Most commonly used to establish if a man is the true biological father of a child but it also used in the analysis of the more complex relationships found in immigration cases.
In response to the requirements of our customers we now deliver the same level of scientific rigour, chain of custody management and industry leading customer service with our recently launched comprehensive family law drug & alcohol testing service.
DNA paternity testing is an emotional rollercoaster raising complex moral issues that often end up being settled in court.
The legal practitioner now needs to fulfill many roles. Working with a reliable, experienced & ethical DNA testing service is key.
Cellmark's new iDNA iPhone/iPad app is now available from the App Store. It's packed with information on DNA relationship testing, plus check case progress on the move.
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We are accredited by the Ministry of Justice as a body that may carry out parentage tests as directed by the civil courts in England and Wales under section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969.
This means that we abide by the Dept. of Health's voluntary Code of Practice on Paternity Testing, our labs have the relevant ISO accreditation (ISO17025) and we market our services in an ethical manner.
We are the UK's most recommended Paternity Testing service, according to the quarterly TNS/Sofres Omnimed survey.
Take the time to check that your chosen DNA testing provider really is on the Ministry of Justice's accredited list and that it is not just some 'marketing' copy that gives the impression that they are on the list. One 'high profile' company is currently doing just this.
With over 21 years experience Cellmark has developed a system of case management which makes things simple for legal professionals.
We offer a range of ways that you can contact us to register a new case - online, by post, by phone. Contact one of our friendly, professional and confidential Customer Service advisors for assistance on 08000 362522 from 8.30 am to 7pm on Mondays and 8.30am till 5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, or send your question via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our discrete SMS service.
We provide a quick and easy way to check the status of your case online.
From ensuring that your clients have the right information before commencing the process to understanding what the final test report means - we aim to provide assistance every step of the way.
Chain of Custody
For any Legal DNA case, the Chain of Custody of the sample is of utmost importance. Cellmark has developed strict procedures and systems to ensure that the procedures have been followed.
Chain of Custody involves procedures that apply to the following steps of
a DNA test:
- Identification of the tested party
- Obtaining Consent
- Collection of specimens from the tested party
- Packaging of the specimens
- Shipment of the specimens
- Receipt of the specimens by our laboratory
- Transfer of specimens within the DNA laboratory
- Storage of the specimens
The individuals being tested must give their consent for DNA testing. The Human Tissue Act 2004 specifies that it is the treating clinician’s responsibility to seek consent from a parent, person with parental responsibility or relative.
Failure to ensure this constitutes the offence of "DNA theft" which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years and/or a fine of £3,000. This is one reason why Cellmark does not offer "curiousity" tests as we believe that it cannot be proven that all parties have actually consented in these instances.
Cellmark provides all the relevant documentation and instructions on what to do to simplify your involvement in the sampling process. If you have any concerns phone our Customer Services team on 0800 043 4247.
Procedures have been developed to ensure that the correct individuals are tested.
The samples must taken by an independent and suitably qualified medical practitioner e.g. a doctor or practice nurse.
The sampler should not be related to the sample giver, nor have any financial or personal interest in the outcome of the paternity test.
Two passport sized photographs must be presented at the sampling appointment and the signature of each person being tested is required on the sampling forms. The sampler must also sign the sampling forms to confirm the identity of the donor and the sample and that it has been given consentually. This can be used to confirm the identity of the person(s) being tested and are sent with the samples to Cellmark.
This means that we can confirm that DNA testing is undertaken in a professional manner which complies with UK legislation and the results of testing will be accepted as evidence of paternity in the UK courts.
We have a large number of registered samplers who can undertake sampling. We can also, if if helps you, set up the appointments on your and your clients behalf, simply contact our Cusotmer Services team on 08000 362522.
Cellmark holds the UK Borders Agency contract for DNA testing and has been managing cases from all around the world.
We have noted a large reduction in the number of tests requested by the government but a significant increase from solicitors.
The interpretation of test results in immigration cases is a highly skilled and complex process. Using an experienced company is essential - as others have found to their cost.
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In the matter of Neutral Citation Number:  EWHC 3235 (Fam), Case No: MA06C01125 what ended up as a tragic comedy of errors could easily have been averted if the parties had understood the complexities of the matter under review and Judge Hayden's public judgement outlined a series of steps that solicitors need to consider when dealing with cases involving DNA testing.
Make sure the company you choose is accredited. The Ministry of Justice maintains a list of accredited bodies to carry out scientific tests for parentage, where the Court gives a direction under Section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969. Each of these laboratories is required to produce evidence of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and to give an undertaking to comply with the Department of Health's voluntary Code of Practice on Genetic Testing.
Do they have the experience and customer service back up you may require? DNA testing has been employed to establish relationships for over 20 years so check how long the company has been in business. Experienced companies will have conducted hundreds of thousands of tests and will be able to assist you thorugh the entire process, answering any questions you may have
It is then essential that clear instructions are given, by the solicitor to the laboratory, on exactly which relationships are to be tested. This was central to the outcome in this case and one which caused great consternation especially for the client. Do not fall into the mistake of copying and pasting what appears to be the relevant section of the judgement - it is very specific and might actually confuse the matter.
Borders Agency changes
Once upon a time if the UK Government had any doubt when considering entry clearance applications for family members they would commission DNA testing to establish whether the relationships were in fact as claimed. However, in the experience of Cellmark's customers, they appear to have become increasingly disinclined to do so, either shifting the onus back onto the applicant and sponsor, arguably rightly so, to prove their relationship or simply by refusing such applications.
Individuals, or their Legal Representatives, are therefore now themselves instructing DNA testing companies in greater numbers to challenge the Entry Clearance Officers' refusals. These cases frequently involve complex DNA analyses and interpretation as well as being complex to manage as solicitors are discovering.
Legal practitioners need to consider exactly how DNA testing could be utilised on a case by case basis. DNA testing companies can report on a wide range of claimed relationships but the results that each type of testing would be expected to produce can vary enormously.
Cellmark has extensive experience of dealing with these matters and is well placed to advise you on the testing process, the potential outcomes and to assist you every step of the way. for further information contact our Customer Services team on 0800 043 4247.
Drug & Alcohol testing
Hair drug & Alcohol testing is an excellent and non-invasive means of detecting substance use over an extended period of time.
Recent legal judgements mean selecting the right supplier is key.
There are guidelines for hair testing that have been published by the Society of Hair Testing that specify the markers to be tested for and the cutoff concentrations that need to be tested.
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Mr. Justice Moylan has recently provided guidance in London Borough of Richmond upon Thams v B  EWCA 2903 (Fam) as to the use of hair strand testing for alcohol in Children Act proceedings. The judgment sets out in detail the forms of hair strand testing currently available and is also of note as it provides a clear reminder to experts who produce reports within Children Act proceedings of their duties under the Practice Direction 'Experts in Family Proceedings Relating to Children' (2009) 2 FLR 1383.
Hair strand testing is generally still reliable to test for frequent and excessive consumption of alcohol. This has to be read with the caveats that:
- It is still possible for a parent to seek to reduce the level of detection by either shampooing or bleaching their hair.
- It is still possible that the level of detection may be increased by, for example, the use of products on the hair which contain alcohol, or as a result of other factors including through alimentary alcohol being present in food (e.g. some breads).
- The "cut-offs" for frequent and excessive consumption have been set through empirical research and ROC analysis, and are set at a point where the results were understood to produce 10% false positive and 10% false negative results.
- The analysis of the hair strand test results should be for a minimum period of three months.
- When used, the tests should only form part of the evidential picture. However, where the results are 'very high' such results might form a 'significant part of the evidential picture'.
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Click on the links below to see a range of short explanatory video answers.