Code of Practice for Peace of Mind and Legal Relationship Testing

“Affirmative” is a brand name used by (and belonging to) Key Forensic Services Limited to market a range of DNA relationship testing services. “Affirmative” is not a trading entity. All DNA testing services are delivered by Key Forensic Services Limited, through our UK laboratories.

Peace of Mind, Legal Relationship Testing and Immigration Testing is provided by Key Forensic Services Limited whose Code of Practice is shown below:

Note: Peace of Mind tests are carried out in accordance with the Company’s Test procedure, with two stipulations: (1) only the mother may consent for children under 16 years (unless a court rules otherwise); and she must provide a copy of an identification document bearing her signature.

Please read this document carefully before collecting samples.

In all cases of paternity and family relationship testing, Key Forensic Services Limited ("Key Forensic Services") will follow the principles and procedures set out below:

Our Code of Practice has been drafted in accordance with common law and legislation applicable to DNA testing* and the 'Code of Practice and Guidance for Genetic Paternity Testing Services' (2001) which is intended to apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (although for the Self-Sampling Test, the services of a Sampler are not used). In some instances the law in Scotland is different and we have endeavoured to show these variations where appropriate.

* For example, Human Tissue Act 2004 (the majority of which came into force in September 2006), Blood Tests (Evidence of Paternity) Regulations 1971 (as amended), Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1971, Mental Capacity Act 2005, etc.

  1. Minimum age of persons ordering a test

    Orders for a relationship test ("Test") will only be accepted from persons who are at least 16 years of age.

  2. Information

    In cases of paternity testing in particular, all persons to be tested need to consider the potential consequences of finding out the results of the Test especially for any children involved – in some cases the effects may be devastating – and it may be beneficial to seek counselling either before or after obtaining a Test. Counselling services are available from various organisations, for example Relate provides counselling in the UK (0845 1304016 or

  3. Consent (general)
    1. Before samples may be collected for a Test or the Test itself carried out, the appropriate consent (see further below) must be obtained (unless a court rules otherwise).
    2. Consent is not consent if it is uninformed consent. The person giving consent must understand what they are consenting to – the type of test and what it will show. It is also important that they have given serious consideration to the implications of finding out the results of the Test – the consequences of which may be irrevocable.
    3. Consent must be voluntary, i.e. the person giving consent must give consent of their own free will and must not be subjected to undue influence, pressure or threat of any kind.
    4. Consent may be withdrawn at any time. If any party to a test subsequently withdraws their consent, Key Forensic Services must be notified immediately and the processing of the DNA samples will be stopped. Key Forensic Services’ fees will still be payable subject to our Terms and Conditions relating to ‘Payment and cancellation'.
  4. Consent (16 years and above)
    1. No Test will be undertaken without the consent of each adult to be tested (unless a court has ruled otherwise). Each adult is required to sign the Consent Form.
    2. An adult is someone who is 18 years or over.
    3. A child of 16 or 17 years of age is presumed to be capable of giving consent and may give consent as if they were an adult. If they do not wish to make a decision either way, [the mother] may consent on their behalf.
    4. In Scotland, a person who is 16 or over has the legal capacity to consent for themselves.
  5. Consent (under 16 years)
    1. If a child under 16 years of age is to be tested, then [the mother] may give consent on behalf of the child and is required to sign the Consent Form. However, if the child is old enough and mature enough to understand the nature and consequences of the Test, their wishes should be sought and taken into consideration before the sample is collected. If the child's wishes conflict with the parent's wishes, legal advice may be required.

      Note: Since September 2006, a "competent" child, i.e. one who is old enough and mature enough to understand the nature and implications of the Test, may consent for themselves and their wishes cannot be overridden by a parent or other person with Parental Responsibility for them. The test of competency is based on the "Gillick" case (Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] 3 All ER 402, HL) in which it was held that a doctor could provide medical advice to a child under 16 years without the approval (or even the knowledge) of the parent if the child was of "sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up his own mind". It is not possible to state with certainty at what age a child might be expected to have the appropriate level of competency to consent, as all children are different and mature at different rates, but as a rough guide it is probable that most children of 12 years and over are likely to have the required competence and care should therefore be taken to ensure that their rights under the new Act are upheld.

      1. Only persons with Parental Responsibility* for a child may give consent for a sample to be taken from that child and for a Test to be carried out (unless a court rules otherwise) [for Peace of Mind tests we require the mother’s consent].

        * The mother automatically has Parental Responsibility as does the father if he is married to the mother. The father may also have Parental Responsibility if he is on the birth certificate, provided the birth was registered (or re-registered) after 1st December 2003, or if he has a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement lodged with a court, or a Parental Responsibility Order or a Residence Order. Persons other than the parents may also have Parental Responsibility for a child (usually by Court Order). Legal advice should be sought for further clarification if required.

    2. In Scotland, a child under the age of 16 may give consent themselves if in the opinion of the medical practitioner who is attending them* they have the capacity to understand the nature and possible consequences of the procedure (in which case, their wishes cannot be overridden by a parent or the local authority who has responsibility for them). If they do not have such capacity, any person with "parental responsibilities" (within the meaning of section 1(3) of Children (Scotland) Act 1995) in relation to child or having care and control of child may consent for them. The consent of only one such person is required.

      * For our purposes, this would include the person collecting the child's sample, provided they are a medical practitioner (e.g. doctor, dentist).

    3. Tests will not be undertaken where we have reason to believe that the person consenting for a child is not authorised to do so.
  6. Consent (Test Reports)

    As well as consenting to the samples being taken and the Test being carried out, everyone tested should realise that they are also consenting to the results being issued to an AUTHORISED PERSON (or persons). Test Reports will only be given to or discussed with:

    (a) the person nominated on the Consent Form to receive the results – the "Primary person";

    (b) other authorised persons (if applicable), such as Child Support Agency or the Court which ordered the test;

    (c) the legal representative(s) of the person(s) tested (if applicable) with the consent of the person(s) tested;

    (d) other persons with the consent of everyone tested;

    (e) any person tested (or, where person tested is a child, [all persons] with Parental Responsibility [see 5.1.1] for the child), where those authorised to receive the results failed without good cause to pass on the results to those tested (see further below, paragraph 10.2).


    Apart from the report supplied to the Primary person, a fee may be charged for each additional report supplied to the persons mentioned above.

  7. "Best interests of the Child"

    Paternity Tests will not be carried out where we have reason to believe that it may not be in the best interests of the child. The parent or other person collecting the child's sample are also under a legal obligation to consider the interests of the child and if they have reason to believe that the Test may not be in the best interests of the child, they should not proceed with the sample collection.*

    * Please note, if there is a conflict between the wishes of the child and the parent (see further paragraph 5.1 above) this may be an instance where to proceed would not be in the best interests of the child.

  8. Procedure for Sample Collection

    In order that we can be reasonably satisfied that the samples delivered to us for peace of mind and legal relationship testing came from the right persons, everyone being tested is required to supply a copy of an ID document containing their signature (for example, passport, UK driving licence, building society book – please contact us for other documents which may be used). Except where a competent child has signed for themselves, copies of ID documents for children need not contain signatures – a copy of any available ID document (such as a birth certificate) may be provided.*

    * If no ID document is available for the child, then we will require a clear photograph (full face, eyes open, no hat) signed and dated on the back by the mother.

    NB: the results of a Peace of Mind Test cannot be used for Court or other legal purposes (for which our Legal Relationship Test Service is required).

    DNA SAMPLES RETURNED WITHOUT REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION (or where no payment has been made) will not be processed and may be destroyed after receipt by the laboratory. We will endeavour to contact the Customer to supply the missing item/information, before destroying the samples.

    Note: It is a serious offence punishable by imprisonment to personate another person for the purpose of providing a bodily sample (or to present the wrong child for that purpose).

  9. Confidentiality
    1. All information supplied by persons to be tested shall be kept in the strictest confidence and only for as long as is necessary to adequately carry out the Test and report the results.

      It will be necessary to load DNA profiles to the Key Forensic Services Staff Elimination Database (SED). This is purely for the purposes of safeguarding against accidental contamination within our laboratories and samples will NOT be searched against any criminal DNA database. Samples will be removed from the SED after 6 months.

      In general, once the Test Report has been issued to the Primary person, samples will be disposed of by incineration after one month and extracted DNA after one month.

    2. Everyone being tested is entitled to know the results of the test, but the results will only be given to the Primary person or other authorised person(s) as listed at paragraph 6 above. It is the responsibility of the Primary person to ensure that everyone tested receives the results. However, if the Primary person has without reasonable excuse failed to pass on the results to all the persons tested, we reserve the right to issue results directly to or to discuss results with any person tested (or where the person tested is a child, to issue results to and/or to discuss the results with [all persons who have] Parental Responsibility [see 5.1.1] for the child).

      In most cases, test reports will be sent by First Class post to the Primary person and/or other authorised person(s). or via electronic mail. Where details of reports are given by electronic means, all reasonable steps will be taken to establish their identity before disclosing results to the person(s) listed at paragraph 6 above.

  10. Risk to Customers

    We take the safety of our customers very seriously and if we as a Company feel that anyone could be at risk due to taking part in a DNA test we reserve the right to withdraw our services.

Contact details

The Company may be contacted as follows:
Key Forensic Services Ltd
Tel 01953 668669
or email * *

*The Customer acknowledges that internet communications are capable of corruption and the company cannot therefore accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after despatch.

If you have any questions or need any further information please contact us.