Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in child abduction case

26 June 2003

This is the first judgment delivered by the new European Court of Human Rights concerning the application of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It is a very significant judgment that provides support for the Hague Convention. The Court considered that the positive obligations which Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights imposed on the Contracting States to help reunite parents with their children had to be construed in the light of the Hague Convention of 1980. A failure to enforce a return order could, as in the circumstances of this case, constitute a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention.
Click here to consult the Press release issued by the Registrar of the Court. The full judgment can also be found on the ECHR website.
For a review of decisions of the European Commission concerning the Hague Child Abduction Convention, see Andrea Schulz, "Das Haager Kindesentführungsübereinkommen vom 25.10.1980 in der Praxis der Strassburger Menschenrechtsorgane" (The Hague Child Abduction Convention of 25 October 1980 in the case-law of the Strasbourg Human Rights Organs); Deutsches und Europäisches Familienrecht, 1999, No 1, p. 224.