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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

28 MAR 2012

PATERNITY: Ahrens v Germany (App No 45071/09)

(European Court of Human Rights; 22 March 2012)

The applicant alleged German court's failure to allow him to challenge another man's legal paternity of a child violated his Art 8 rights. The paternity declared by the mother's new partner with her consent. The German court prevented applicant from challenging paternity despite having a sexual relationship with the mother around the time of conception. The applicant's relationship with the child was not within the scope of family life as his relationship with the mother ended a year prior to conception and thereafter was purely sexual. Decision not to allow challenge of paternity fell within private life. Decision taken in the best interests of the family unit: the mother, her partner and the child. Decision whether to allow to challenge paternity fell within the State's margin of appreciation.  

Case had taken 3 years, 7 months to be determined in Germany, delay did not predetermine issues, procedural requirements of Art 8 had been complied with.

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