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01 DEC 2011

PATERNITY: Genovese v Malta (App No 53124/09)

(European Court of Human Rights; 11 October 2011)

The Maltese court refused to grant citizenship to a child born out of wedlock to a Maltese father and British mother. The mother was initially told by the court that the father must recognise the child on the birth certificate. A Scottish court declared the Maltese father as the biological father and amended the birth certificate. The Maltese courts later confirmed paternity and ordered the father to pay maintenance. However, the Maltese court still refused citizenship on the basis that the children were born out of wedlock and were entitled to citizenship only if the mother was Maltese. The Maltese civil court considered those statutory provisions were discriminatory, and therefore in violation of constitution. However, constitutional court reversed the decision.

ECHR found breach of Art 14 in conjunction with Art 8.

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