Family Law Hub

Human Rights

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  • In brief: After divorcing his wife in 2006, Mr Doktorov discovered that one of their two children (born in 2003) was not biologically his. A DNA test in January 2007 confirmed this and, the following month, he brought a civil claim to contest paternity. However, his claim was dismissed as time-barred. Relying on Article 8, Mr Doktorov complained that he had been unable to bring his claim because the one-year time-limit started running from the time he learnt about the child’s birth. However, he had only learned that he was not the child’s father until four years later. The ECtHR agreed that there had been a violation of his Article 8 rights. Judgment, 15/05/2018, free
  • In brief: The mother (“M”) had applied for a residence order for her son in February 2014 after the father (“F”) took the child to Chechnya. Based mainly on a positive report on the father by the local childcare authority, the district court dismissed M’s residence order application and granted one in favour of F, although he had not requested it. M’s subsequent appeals were unsuccessful. It was then revealed that the report prepared by the childcare authority included incorrect and incomplete information. Following F’s death in 2014, the child was returned to M in 2016. The ECtHR found that the domestic courts’ examination of the family’s circumstances had not been thorough enough, which had not allowed the best interests of the child to be established. Overall, there had been a violation of M’s rights under Article 8. Judgment, 15/05/2018, free
  • In brief: This case began as a private law dispute where the mother (“M”) was very concerned that the father (“F”) would abduct the child. Subsequently (and it is not clear what led to this), the local authority (“LA”) obtained an interim care order and removed the child. The judgment concerns a number of applications (brought by M) for declarations pursuant to the Human Rights Act 1998 that ss 2, 8, 38, 50, and 97 CA 1989 and the whole of the Child Abduction Act 1984 were incompatible with the ECHR. The fundamental point M made was that the statute was not strong or effective enough. Surprisingly, the High Court did not take the opportunity offered to them of overturning huge chunks of statute. Judgment, 26/04/2018, free
  • In brief: A successful application by a mother (“M”) whose Article 8 rights had been violated through the failure of the Polish courts to enforce an Irish return order following the child’s abduction to Poland resulting in no contact between M and the child for a year. Judgment, 09/03/2018, free
  • In a tweet: F awarded compensation where custody battle led to breach of human rights. Summary: The father (“F”) sought enforcement of a return order in the Slovakian courts. The district court had found that the order was not enforceable because it had not specified that it was directed at the mother (“M”). F lodged a constitutional complaint challenging various decisions and the original decisions were quashed. But on a rehearing, the district court came to the same conclusion. Following further constitutional proceedings (which agreed that F’s rights had been violated), F successfully complained to the ECtHR that the Slovakian enforcement courts had failed to secure respect for his family life. Judgment, 19/01/2018, free

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