Friday, 26 June 2009


This is going to make me sound somewhat old, but in the days before the Child Support Agency it was common for me to act on behalf of clients seeking or defending affiliation orders, in an effort to establish paternity of a child. At the time, analysis was based on blood compatibility tests as opposed to DNA testing as is the case now. The reports giving the results of the blood tests were generally expressed in such a way that the likelihood of a defendant being the father of the child was given on a percentage basis. It always struck me as strange when a woman insisted she had only had one partner to be given results that virtually excluded him from paternity, and likewise for a man to insist he could not be the father on the basis of a relationship that consisted of little more than a one-night stand, only for the results to be weighted to the contrary.

Indeed once upon a time I recall having to tell one young man that regrettably the outcome of the tests suggested that the odds on successfully refuting paternity were stacked against him. He was downcast to hear this but then immediately pepped up when he read the report which confirmed that on the basis of the samples analysed only 0.07% of men could be the father of the child and he fell into that 0.07%.

“Double O, Seven,” he read out aloud. “From now on,” he exclaimed with a smile on his face, “I shall call myself James Bond.”

All of these stories came back to me when I received a call this morning. It was Outdoor Man.

“We have a problem, Jude,” he said. “One of the Roborowski Brothers isn’t a brother after all and it’s given birth, but we can’t work out which one’s the mother, or the father for that matter. Apprentice Man and I are just off now for our weekend of sailing and you’ll need to deal with it!”

Obviously I was slightly bemused but totally unclear what I was meant to do about the situation from my office desk.

“We just thought as a family lawyer, you’d know what to do.”

Does anyone offer DNA testing for hamsters?

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