Report 1474/62 1677/62 1691/62 1769/63 1994/63 2126/64

Applicant name Belgian Linguistic Case
Applicant type Group
Country Belgium
Decision no. 1474/62 1677/62 1691/62 1769/63 1994/63 2126/64
Date 24/06/1965
Judges Petrén
[Others unknown]
Type Report
Outcome Art. 8 Inadmissible
Reason Ratione Materiae
Type of privacy Family Privacy
Keywords Educational language; disruption family life
Facts of the case See cases here and here
Analysis Interesting case because the Commission discusses the relationship between what had been called the ‘family rights’ in the travaux préparatoires: Article 8 ECHR, Article 12 ECHR and Article 2 of the first Protocol. The Commission stresses that it believes that each of these provisions governs a well-defined sector of private and family life. Although it is possible that they may give rise, in certain circumstances, to combined or joint application, such does not lead to an extension of the rights in their own areas. The rights of parents with regard to the education and instruction of their children are defined by the article 2 of the Additional Protocol. It is therefore excluded that these same rights are covered by article 8 of the Convention. In other words, it cannot be conceived that Article 8 encroaches on the scope of Article 2 of the Protocol, or especially that it adds anything to it. [ En d’autres termes, on ne saurait concevoir què l’article 8 empiète sur le domaine de l’article 2 du Protocole, ni surtout qu’il y ajoute quelque chose.] The Commission stresses that Articles 8 and 12 ECHR were adopted without much discussion, while the matter of the right to education was controversial (one of the reasons why it was put in the addition protocol). Thus, it would be contrary to the intention of the Convention authors to adopt an extensive interpretation of Article 8. Article 2 of the Protcol does not include a positive obligation for states to respect or facilitate parents in having their children educated in their language of preference, nor is such an obligation implicit in the right to privacy.

Still, it added, it is conceivable that article 8 would be infringed in the educational sphere. This might be the case, for example, if children were obliged to live in boarding schools, or if school hours were deliberately fixed in such a way as to prevent or minimize contact between children and their parents. Likewise, provisions relating to the language of instruction may cause serious disturbances to private or family life, under certain conditions, such provisions may be considered incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention, but this incompatibility will not result from the fact that the State does not respect the wishes of the parents as regards the language of instruction: it will only result from serious and unjustified disturbances to private or family life.

Judge Eustathiades stressed in a separate opinion that Article 8 ECHR finds its origin in Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The goal of that article was to prohibit artbitrary interference with the right to privacy, which is echoed by paragraph 2 of Article 8 ECHR. This provision ensures that only interferences are legitimate when they are fixed in law and aim at safeguarding one of the societal goals enlisted in that paragraph. He stresses that this should not only include direct interferences by the state, but also indirect interferences. In the current case, there is no interference that is the result of a measure directly directed against the free exercise of the right to respect for private and family life. ‘Mais, a respect de la vie familiale, enonce au paragraphe 1 de l’article 8, des actes des autorites publiques (en l’occurrence de la legislation) qui, par leurs effets, aboutiraient pratiquement a des perturbations si essentielles de la vie familiale, lesquelles snas constituer une ingerence directe, ne scraient pas moins attentatoires au droit au respect de la vie familiale. En effet, l’ingerences des autorites publiques n’est pas le resultat d’une measure directement dirigee contre le libre exercice du droit au respect de la vie privee et familiale. Mais rein n’empecherai que ce droit (prevu a l’article 8 de la Convention) puisse etre viole a la suite d’une legislation interne relative a une autre matière ( a savoir l’enseignement) serait pas consideree comme violee. Il suffirait donc de pouvoir etablir que malgre cela ladite legislation est incompatible aved l’article 8 de la Convention.’ He believed the practical effects of the legislation, indirectly, gravely impacted the family life of French speaking citizens and so did not exclude that there was a interference of the right to privacy in this case.

Documents Report