Applicant name X.
Applicant type Natural Person
Country Austria
Decision no. 5416/72
Date 30/05/1974
Institution Commission
Type Decision
Outcome Art. 8 Inadmissible
Reason Ratione Materiae
Type of privacy Family Privacy; Decisional Privacy
Keywords No Positive Obligation; Providing Information
Facts of the case Parents divorce; custody awarded to mother. Father wants to have access to the files concerning his daughter. He requested the District Court to give him every six months a report on the welfare and living conditions of his child. He stated that he was well aware that he had no right to interfere with his daughter’s education but at least he wanted to know what was happening to her. The applicant stated that after some delay and difficulty he finally was given leave to examine the court files concerning his daughter. It was on that occasion only that he allegedly found out that the husband of his divorced wife had, nearly one year before, made an application to adopt the applicant’s daughter.
Analysis While such a matter would now certainly be said to fall under the scope of the right to privacy, the Commission in this case still interprets the Convention (and especially Article 8 ECHR) as it was originally intended, namely as a document that provided the citizen with negative freedom rights vis-a-vis the government and stressing the negative obligation of governments not to abuse their power when infringing in the domains covered by the provisions of the Convention. It stresses: ‘It is true that Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention secures to everyone the right to respect for his family life. However, this provision is primarily negative in the sense that it gives protection against unjustified interference with family life by public authorities, but does not oblige the State positively to re-establish conditions of family life already impaired, as in the present case, by divorce and the suspension of the rights of custody of the father. The applicant’s complaint that the judicial authorities neither ordered his wife, nor themselves arranged, to provide him with reports on his child can therefore not be regarded as a violation of Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.’
Documents Decision