Judgement 39769/17, 9167/18, 48372/18, 38097/19, 45985/19 and 58880/19

Applicant name  K.F. AND OTHERS
Applicant type Natural person
Number of applicants 11
Country Norway
Application no.39769/17, 9167/18, 48372/18, 38097/19, 45985/19 and
Date 12/09/2023
Judges Jovan Ilievski, President,
 Lorraine Schembri Orland,
 Diana Sârcu, judges,
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 Violation
Reason Not necessary in a democratic society (health and rights)
Type of privacy Relational privacy
Keywords Procedural privacy; relational privacy
Facts of the case The applications all concern complaints under Article 8 of the Convention relating to decisions to withdraw the applicant parents’ parental responsibilities in respect of the children and to authorise their adoption, against the parents’ wishes. The complete list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in an appended table.
Analysis 1. Interestingly, some of the parents complained about an interference with their right to freedom of religion under Article 9 ECHR, but the ECtHR includes those claims as an integral part of the parents’ claims under the right to privacy. In addition, a claim with respect to Article 6 ECHR dismissed. As to Article 8 ECHR, the Court is quick to establish that there has been an interference with the right to family life, that there was a legal basis and that the interference served the protection of “health” and “rights” of the children involved.
2. As to the necessity requirement, the Court reiterates that adoption without parental consent is among the most severe interferences with Article 8 ECHR possible, which is why the ECtHR applies a “stricter scrutiny” test. At the same time, it is not a court of fourth instance, so that it will limit itself to a review under the Convention of the decisions taken by domestic authorities in the exercise of their power of appreciation. It refers to earlier case law and notes that like in those cases, it will find a violation in this instance, in particular because of two aspects. First, in the domestic proceedings, insufficient importance was attached to the aim that placement in care be temporary and an affected family be reunited. Second, insufficient regard was paid to the positive duty to take measures to preserve family bonds to the extent reasonably feasible.
3. This judgement fits in the trend of the Court focussing on legal efficiency, not setting out the facts of the matter in detail, not listing the separate complaints but moving them to an appendix and not going into legal details, but mainly citing established case law which it finds also applicable in this instance. Though this move is understandable given the work load of the Court, it does not have a positive effect on legal clarity, consistency and understandability.  
Other Article violation? – No violation 6 or 9 ECHR.
Damage awarded that, in respect of applications nos. 39769/179167/1848372/18 and 45985/19, the respondent State is to pay to the applicant parents, within three months, the amount indicated in the appended table (jointly to the parent applicants where so indicated), plus any tax that may be chargeable in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
jointly EUR 25,000
jointly EUR 25,000 to the first two applicants (the parents).
The finding of a violation constitutes sufficient just satisfaction in respect of the child.
 jointly EUR 25,000
EUR 25,000
Documents Judgment