Judgment 26504/20

Applicant nameANAGNOSTAKIS 
Applicant type Natural person
Number of applicants 1
Country Greece
Application no. 26504/20 
Date 10/10/2023
Judges Pere Pastor Vilanova, President,
 Georgios A. Serghides,
 Darian Pavli,
 Peeter Roosma,
 Ioannis Ktistakis,
 Andreas Zünd,
 Oddný Mjöll Arnardóttir
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 No violation
Reason Positive obligation
Type of privacy Relational privacy
Keywords Access to child
Facts of the case The application concerns non-enforcement of court decisions setting the contact schedule between the applicant and his child, who was under the custody of his mother. According to the applicant, the mother had alienated the child from him, and the authorities had not been sufficiently active in helping him restore his relationship with his child, even though he had submitted several requests to that effect. In its judgment Anagnostakis and Others v. Greece (23 September 2021), the Court had found a violation of Article 8 of the Convention on account of the delay in the proceedings setting the contact schedule between the applicant and his child.
Analysis The Court notes that the applicant has been unable to exercise his contact rights with his son in a meaningful way despite the Athens court setting out a detailed contact schedule. However, the Court notes that the domestic authorities took a number of steps towards enabling the applicant’s contact with his son. There were also legal procedures ongoing against the mother. Although all the domestic authorities’ efforts were in vain, owing to the tense relationship between the parents and their behaviour, despite the prosecutor’s order to have a psychiatric evaluation of the child carried out by the Centre, the applicant refused to attend and requested that the order be revoked because, on the one hand, he had not been consulted prior to the adoption of that decision and, on the other hand, the order should have been given with specific instructions to focus the investigation on the reasons behind the child’s refusal to meet with him. Moreover, he insisted that a psychiatric evaluation of the child be conducted in Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital, where he himself had made an appointment. He further refused the recommendation of the Greek Ombudsman to contact organisations specialising in children’s mental health, stating that his son was mentally healthy. Consequently, the Court finds that the failure to enforce the applicant’s contact rights cannot be attributed to a lack of diligence on the part of the relevant authorities.

Judge Serghides dissents and believes there has been a violation of Artilce 8 ECHR, because the lack of cooperation between separated parents is not a factor which by itself exempts the authorities from their positive obligations. He believes the suggestions and solutions by the domestic authorities, including the Ombudsman were vague and impractical, like talking to experts and consulting with professional organisations specialising in children’s mental health. He notes that facilitating the re-establishment of the father’s contact with his son would be pursued not only for the father’s benefit, but primarily for the benefit of his son, as well as for that of his mother and of society at large, which requires healthy relationships among people and relies on the presence of strong interpersonal connections between them.
Other Article violation? No
Damage awarded
Documents Judgment