Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2008] All ER (D) 15 (Jun)
Court: European Court of Human Rights

Judge Casadevall (President), Judges Fura-Sandstrom, Bratza, Birsan, Zupancic, Myjer and Ziemele, and Mr S Quesada (Section Registrar)

Judgment Dates: 3 June 2008


Human rights - Fair trial - Family life - Minor - Custody - Rights of custody - Foreign custody rights - Wrongful removal or retention - Mother removing child from Romania without knowledge or consent of divorced father - Father requesting return of child - English proceedings lasting three years and nine months - Romanian proceedings lasting two years - Whether breach of father's right to a family life - Whether breach of reasonable time requirement - Whether complaints admissible - Whether father entitled to just satisfaction for non-pecuniary loss - European Convention on Human Rights, arts 6(1), 8 and 41.

The Case

In so far as a complaint about the outcome of the Hague Convention proceedings in both the English and Romanian jurisdictions was concerned, it was necessary to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the Contracting Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights as interpreted in the light of the requirements of the Hague Convention. However, it was not the European Court of Human Rights' function to deal with errors of fact or law allegedly committed by a national court unless and in so far as they might have infringed rights and freedoms protected by the Convention. That had not occurred in the case of the applicant who was seeking to obtain a ruling that his ex-wife had acted unlawfully in taking their child from Romania to London and therefore his complaint under art8 of the Convention was not admissible. However, he was awarded 1,000 in non-pecuniary damages in respect of a breach of the reasonable time requirement in art6(1) of the Convention where the Romanian courts had taken two years to determine a point under the Hague Convention. However, there had been no violation of that article by the English Courts as they could not come to a decision before the end of the Romanian proceedings.

Practice Areas

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