The purposes of this Bill are to enable a male who has reasonable grounds to believe he either is or is not the father of a child to make an application for a paternity order; and to empower the Family Court to order that a buccal sample be taken from a child whose parentage is at issue or any person who may be the natural parent so that a parentage test can be carried out in respect of that child.
Clause by clause analysis
Clause 1 is the Title clause.
Clause 2 provides that the Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Family Proceedings Act 1980 (the principal Act)
Clause 5 amends section 47 of the Act to enable either a man who has reasonable grounds to believe he is the father of a child or a man who has reasonable grounds to believe he is not the father of a child to make an application to the Family Court for a paternity order in respect of that child.
Clauses 6, 7 and 8 amend sections 48, 49 and 51 to support the amendment to section 47.
Clause 9 inserts a new paragraph and new subsections into section 54 empowering the Family Court to order the taking of a buccal sample from a child whose parentage is in issue or any person who may be the natural parent of the child, and provides that the counselling and conciliation provisions under Part 2 of the Act are available to any child or any person who has a proper interest in determining parentage. Other amendments are made to support the insertion of a new paragraph and subsections.
Clauses 10, 11, and 12 follow the recommendations of the Law Commission Report 88, New Issues in Legal Parenthood that there be sanctions for non-compliance with parentage-testing orders aligned with the relevant sections of the Care of Children Act 2004.
Clause 10 amends section 57 by adding a new subsection empowering the Court to issue a warrant for the enforcement of a parentage-testing order.
Clause 11 inserts new sections 57A, 57B, and 57C relating to the execution of warrants for the enforcement of parentage-testing orders. Section 57A lists the obligations for a person executing a warrant under section 57. Section 57B provides a faxed copy of a warrant may be executed if authorised by the Court. Section 57C creates an offence of resisting the execution of a warrant.
Clause 12 amends section 59 to align the penalty for offences relating to parentage tests with section 79 of the Care of Children Act 2004.
Clause 13 amends section 174 to prevent parentage orders being appealed to the High Court.