Judgment 56513/17 56515/17

Applicant name  C.P. and M.N
Applicant type Natural person
Number of applicants 2
Country France
Application no. 56513/17 56515/17
Date 12/10/2023
JudgesGeorges Ravarani, président,
 Carlo Ranzoni,
 Mārtiņš Mits,
 Stéphanie Mourou-Vikström,
 María Elósegui,
 Mattias Guyomar,
 Mykola Gnatovskyy
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 No violation
Reason Necessary in a democratic society (protecting the rights and freedoms of others)
Type of privacyRelational privacy; procedural privacy
KeywordsBiological identity; legal status
Facts of the case The application concerns, from the perspective of Article 8 of the Convention, the refusal of the domestic courts to examine the action of the applicant, who claims to be the biological father of a child, aimed at challenging legally established paternity in with a view to establishing its own and the terms of application of a foreclosure period. he applicants complain about the refusal of the domestic courts to examine the applicant’s action aimed at contesting the paternity of the legal father with a view to establishing that of the applicant. They maintain that by declaring the action inadmissible, the domestic courts applied too rigidly the bar of inadmissibility provided for by paragraph 2 of Article 333 of the Civil Code, by prevailing in an excessively formalistic manner an purely procedural requirement. They believe that these same courts did not strike a fair balance between the competing rights and interests at stake.
Analysis The Court quickly establishes that there was an interference, that it had a legal basis and that the law served the interest of protecting the rights and freedoms of others. Subsequently, the Court notes that the applicants essentially contest the predictability and clarity of the rules concerning the calculation of the foreclosure period, which seems an argument the Court would normally assees under its quality of law doctrine, but in this case treats under the necessity requirement. The Court margues that it must, on the one hand, verify whether the rules for calculating the time limit which led the domestic courts to declare the applicant’s action inadmissible were applied in a manner compatible with the Convention and, on the other hand, examine whether the decision-making process which resulted in the impossibility of contesting the filiation established by a recognition of paternity in order to establish another filiation link included certain guarantees, in particular if the reasons given by these domestic courts were relevant and sufficient.

The Court notes that the time limit did not in practice prevent the applicant from acting earlier since he acknowledges having been informed that he was the biological father of the child and that he then had a period which appears sufficient of more than three years to initiate an action in order to assert his interests. The Court further observes that the applicant’s action was declared inadmissible, on the grounds that the latter had delayed in bringing N., and more specifically his legal representative, in the case of a child who was still a minor. The Court observes, moreover, that the applicant only brought an action contesting paternity at the same time as the applicant was seeking to fix N.’s residence, alternating between his mother and his legal father. The Court reiterates that the applicants’ vital interest in having the biological truth legally established does not exempt them from complying with the requirements laid down by domestic law and showing diligence so that the domestic courts can make a fair assessment of the competing interests involved. The Court is also satisfied with the quality of the domestic decision-making proces and judicial scrutiny. No violation of Article 8 ECHR is found.

Judge Mourou-Vikstrom, in a dessenting opinion, stresses that the time the passed before the domestic judgement passed was in violation of Article 8 ECHR.
Other Article violation?
Damage awarded
Documents Judgment