Drug & Alcohol Testing for UK Family Courts

Sample Collection – Forensic Analysis – Medical Interpretation

In child custody cases involving alcohol or drugs, lab results are crucial… but should they be the final arbiter?

Play this video to see how medical review adds balance and helps the court safeguard the interests of the child – in private or public law.

Hair and blood analysis is only one piece of the jigsaw

Discover the nuanced, human approach that gives every lab test a context


As a Family Law Solicitor, you’ll be au fait with drug and alcohol testing. You’ll know the whole process, from sample collection to lab analysis and technical commentary.

But have you ever wondered…“does this go far enough?”

With a family’s future on the line, are courts seeing the full picture – or just a scaled-back version that shuts out the finer details?

We’re not criticising labs – their work is essential, and forms a vital part of our service. It’s simply that a blood or hair sample can never reveal the whole story. There are too many variables, from lack of context to built-in margins of error, so the risk of a false positive – or false negative – is uncomfortably high.

The answer, of course, is to see lab results as one part of the puzzle – to take the lab’s data and analysis as a step towards the answer, then bring in a medical expert for the final assessment.

This is where context is added – where test results are viewed from a human perspective, by a psychiatrist who’s spent decades working with drug and alcohol abuse.

With this extra safeguard, the court receives a more nuanced report, based on the client’s past and present behaviour. It covers everything, from the risk of contaminants to their patterns of use – and how that changes the probable and possible effects.

In other words, we consider the client as a person, not a data set – and so, help the court to make a fair and balanced decision.

This personal touch spans everything we do at Atkinson Lewis:

  • Our friendly sample collectors treat clients with respect, in an industry that’s notorious for disdain.
  • Our ops team get to know you personally, and give you a tailored service – including rapid response.
  • Every assessment is people-centred, because we know it will change a family’s life.
  • And our detailed reports are easy to follow, in plain and simple language – because we want parents to understand what’s happening in their case.

Take a look at our services to see how this all comes together…

“We’re helping courts to make decisions that will alter people’s lives. The least we can all do is approach the task with a touch of humanity.”

David Atkinson – Director & Co-founder

End-to-End Support For Your Next Childcare Case

In public or private law, every drug or alcohol case starts with a MIFA: Medical Interpretation of Forensic Analysis. This documents the whole process, from sample collection and chain of custody to analysis by our trusted lab partners – followed by a full and frank medical review.

CPD Standards

FREE EVENT: The Evidential Picture

Join us for a CPD-accredited half-day seminar, free to all Family Law professionals. In a frank, informative talk, Our Medical Director Dr Catherine Pyves looks beyond hair and blood tests, exploring the whole body of evidence in a drug or alcohol case.

Upcoming Events



How Can We Help You Today?

We’re here to assist with private and public law cases in the Family Courts. If you’ve got a question, need a cost or you’re ready with an instruction, give us some details and we’ll get back to you quickly.