Get laboratory accreditation to carry out paternity tests

How to get accredited so your laboratory can perform official paternity tests as instructed by a court.


Courts can ask for a scientific DNA paternity test to check the parentage of a child if parties cannot agree on whether a DNA test should be done.

This is done under a Section 20 direction.

Only laboratories on the accredited laboratory list can carry out these tests.

Apply for accreditation

To be included on this list of accredited laboratories, you must provide the laboratory’s original certificate of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 (or a certified copy). The certificate must be issued by an accreditation body which complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011:2017 and is a full member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), or a body that is a signatory to an ILAC recognised regional co-operational body.

You need to fill in and sign the paternity testing accreditation application (MS Word Document, 84.5KB) and email it to civil& with:

  • your current original/certified copy of ISO 17025 certificate
  • your statement of adequacy
  • (if you’re a non-UK organisation) a certified copy of your certificate showing current membership of a scheme that meets the requirements of Directive 95/46/EC

It would be useful if you could provide a flow chart along with your application. In it, set out how a request for a Section 20 test would be processed, from receipt up to when the test results are sent back to the court. This is not a compulsory requirement.

The use of intermediaries is not allowed.

Annual reviews ensure the continuing eligibility of each body on the list.

Your application will be acknowledged within 10 working days of receipt.

Additional laboratory requirements

As well as filling in the application form above, accredited laboratories must also agree to:

Data protection requirements

You should only retain personal data for as long as is needed, that is:

  • 6 months for the retention of a DNA sample
  • 12 months for the retention of records created as a result of a Section 20 court-directed test

You must ensure adequate data protection in accordance with:

You should attach a statement to your application form setting out how you will achieve this.

Published 1 October 2014
Last updated 27 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. Changed to email application

  2. Application form for accreditation updated.

  3. Application form updated.

  4. Content update

  5. Content update

  6. First published.