Can High Court Order a DNA Test to be Conducted on a Child to Determine the Child’s Paternity in Civil Cases?

Family Law Series

Case update: MPPL & ANOR v. CAS [2023] 6 CLJ 22


The Appellants are husband and wife who are lawfully married on 3.3.2007. The first appellant gave birth to a child on 23.6.2008, during the course of the marriage.

The Respondent claimed that he was the biological father of the child, alleging that he had sexual relations with the First Appellant before her marriage to the Second Appellant, and that these sexual relations continued during the marriage of the first and Second Appellant. The Respondent further stated that he was allowed access to the child since her birth, and provided monies for the child’s maintenance.

In order to determine paternity, the Respondent sought an order from the High Court to have a forensic DNA test conducted to compare and match the Respondent’s DNA with that of the child. The Appellants in resisting the application, argued that the Malaysian courts do not have the power to do so under Malaysian laws.

Findings of the High Court

After a full trial, the High Court allowed the respondent’s application and ordered that the child be brought to the hospital for a DNA test to be conducted in order to ascertain and confirm the child’s paternity. The High Court further ordered that in the event the DNA test showed the respondent to be the biological father of Child C, then a declaration shall issue to confirm the same. Appellants appealed against the decision thereafter.

Findings of the Court of Appeal

The main issues considered by the Court of Appeal is whether :

  1. Whether the respondent had made out a prima facie case that he had sexual relations with the first appellant during the period in which the Child was conceived;
  2. whether the High Court had the power to order a blood test on the Child to determine paternity via DNA testing; and if so; and
  3. Whether it is in the welfare and best interests of the Child to order the DNA test.

The Court of Appeal answered all three issues in the affirmative and held that as parens patriae, the High Court had general powers to make orders in the best interest of the child, including the power to order a DNA test to be undertaken to determine the child’s paternity.


The position of law was not settled on whether taking of samples from a child and putative biological parents is allowed to resolve paternity disputes. It is now clear that concerned parties may seek such recourse in the civil court as High Courts have the inherent jurisdiction as parens patriae to make any order it deems appropriate in the best interest and welfare of a child, and that this includes an order to undergo a blood test to determine the child’s paternity.

Tan Jie Xin Profile Photo
Legal Associate at Chee Hoe & Associates.
Disclaimer: The content provided on this website does not constitute legal advice but are for general informational purposes only. It may not be the most up-to-date legal information after the published date. To seek professional legal advice, please check with your lawyer.