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Chamber judgment concerning Switzerland

Round stairs of the central hall of the Human Rights building

22/11/2022

In the case of D.B. and Others v. Switzerland the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to respect for private life of a child born through surrogacy and no violation of the right to respect for family life of the intended father and the genetic father.

The case concerned a same-sex couple who were registered partners and had entered into a gestational surrogacy contract in the United States. The applicants complained that the Swiss authorities had refused to recognise the parent-child relationship established by a US court between the intended father and the child born through surrogacy. The Swiss authorities had recognised the parent-child relationship between the genetic father and the child. The Court stated that the chief feature which distinguished the case from those it had decided before was that the first two applicants were a same-sex couple in a registered partnership. The Court held that for the Swiss authorities to withhold recognition of the lawfully issued foreign birth certificate in so far as it concerned the parent-child relationship between the intended father and the child without providing for alternative means of recognising that relationship, had not been in the best interests of the child. Switzerland had therefore overstepped its margin of appreciation by not making timely legislative provision for such a possibility.

Press release Factsheet: Gestational surrogacy Factsheet: Children's Rights Factsheet: Sexual Orientation Case law of the ECHR and sexual orientation

Due to the interruption of the international postal services to and from the Russian Federation and where the only means of delivery of the Court’s decisions and judgments to the applicants is by post, the Court has exceptionally decided to notify the applicants about decisions and judgments adopted by its Chamber and Committee judicial formations after 1 March 2022 in respect of applications against the Russian Federation only via its HUDOC database.

As announced in the Court’s press release of 29 August 2022, as from 1 September 2022 the Court has returned in some aspects to the normal processing of applications involving Ukraine. Due to the interruption of the international postal services to and from Ukraine, the Court will communicate with applicants via its electronic communication system, eComms. For that purpose, the Court will use the email address provided by the applicants. Regarding specifically the notification of decisions and judgments, where no email address has been provided the Court has exceptionally decided to notify the applicants about decisions and judgments adopted by its Chamber and Committee judicial formations only via its HUDOC database. Decisions adopted by the Single Judge will be notified only to those applicants who have provided an email address. Prior to contacting the Court about the state of the proceedings in a case, applicants are encouraged to consult the Court’s State of Proceedings search tool for further information.

Chamber

  • Judgment concerning France

    08/12/2022 
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    In the case of M.K. and Others v. France the Court held that there had been a violation of the right of access to a court.

    The cases concerned asylum-seekers who were without accommodation at the time of the events because they had not been given access to the specialist reception facilities or to emergency accommodation. The urgent-applications judge of the Administrative Court, to whom they applied, ordered the State to find emergency accommodation for them. The applicants complained that, despite the orders granting their requests and the proceedings brought by them at domestic level to that end, the State had failed to enforce the judicial decisions in their favour.

    The Court considered that in the present case the decision to grant or refuse emergency accommodation constituted a civil right.

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  • Judgment concerning Estonia

    06/12/2022 
    Judgment concerning Estonia

    In the case of Kalda v. Estonia (no. 2) the Court held that there had been no violation of the right to free elections.

    The case concerned the blanket ban on prisoners’ voting in Estonia. As a result of the ban, the applicant, a prisoner serving a life sentence for various serious crimes, had been prevented from voting in the 2019 European Parliament Elections. The Court found that the Estonian courts had carefully examined the circumstances of the applicant’s case, including the seriousness and the number of crimes he had committed, as well as his subsequent criminal behaviour in prison and the fact that he had been imprisoned for life. It therefore concluded that the courts had not exceeded the leeway given to them when assessing the voting ban in respect of the applicant and finding it proportionate.

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    Factsheet: Prisoners’ right to vote

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  • Judgment concerning Denmark

    06/12/2022 

    In the case of case K.K. and Others v. Denmark the Court held that there has been a violation of the right to respect for the private lives of the two applicant children because the Danish authorities had failed to strike a balance between the interests of the child applicants and the societal interests in limiting the negative effects of commercial surrogacy.

    The case concerned the refusal to allow the applicant K.K. to adopt the child applicants (twins) as a “stepmother” in Denmark. The twins were born to a surrogate mother in Ukraine who was paid for her service under a contract concluded with K.K. and her partner, the biological father of the children. Under Danish law, adoption was not permitted in cases where payment had been made to the person who had to consent to the adoption. 

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    Factsheet: Gestational surrogacy

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  • Judgment concerning Romania

    06/12/2022 
    Judgment concerning Romania

    In the case of Spasov v. Romania the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to a fair trial and of the protection of property.

    The case concerned a Romanian court judgment convicting the applicant, the owner and captain of a Bulgarian-flagged vessel, of illegal fishing inside Romania’s exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea.

    The ECHR held that, in convicting the applicant, the Court of Appeal had committed a manifest error of law and that the applicant had been the victim of a “denial of justice”. It also held that the domestic provisions on which the Court of Appeal had based its decision could not serve as a legal basis for the additional pecuniary penalties imposed on the applicant, as he had been entitled under clear European rules to fish in the zone concerned.

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Decisions

  • Inadmissibility decision concerning France

    08/12/2022 

    The Court has declared inadmissible the applications in the cases of Caldaras and Lupu v. France, Ciurar and Others v. France, Stefan and Others v. France, Stan v. France, Sisu and Others v. France and Margoi and Others v. France.

    The applications concerned orders to vacate unauthorised camps at various locations in the Paris region where the applicants, Romanian nationals belonging to the Roma community, had been living with their families.

    The Court noted at the outset that the interference by the authorities with the applicants’ right to respect for their private and family life had been in accordance with the law and had pursued the legitimate aims of protecting health and public safety and protecting the rights and freedoms of others, in this instance the property rights of the landowners concerned.

    Press release

    Factsheet: Roma and Travellers

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Events

  • Trilateral dialogue

    06/12/2022 
    Trilateral dialogue

    The Registrars of the three Regional Human Rights Courts met for the first time in Strasbourg on 6 December 2022. Marialena Tsirli, Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights, Pablo Saavedra, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and Robert Eno, Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, took part in this trilateral dialogue which is part of the ongoing cooperation between the three Courts. The meeting was facilitated by Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

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Interim measures

  • Interim measures indicated concerning Poland

    07/12/2022 
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    The ECHR has decided to indicate an interim measure in the cases of Leszczyńska-Furtak v. Poland, Gregajtys v. Poland and Piekarska-Drążek v. Poland. It has asked the Polish Government to suspend the effects of the decisions to transfer the applicants, Polish judges of the Warsaw Court of Appeal, from the Criminal Division to the Labour and Social Security Division of the Warsaw Court of Appeal and to ensure that no decision to transfer the applicants to another division of the Warsaw Court of Appeal against their will is taken until the final determination of the applicants’ complaints by the Court.

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