ADOPTION/HUMAN RIGHTS: Chepelev v Russia

28 AUG 2007

(European Court of Human Rights; 26 July 2007)

The child's parents had separated when the child was one year old. Since then the father had seen the child only once, when she was 2, although he had sent a few telegrams. The Russian court approved the child's adoption by the mother's new husband, without the father's consent, on the basis that the father had not participated in the child's upbringing or provided financial support, whereas the mother's husband had provided for the child in every way; the child considered the mother's husband to be her only father. The father claimed that the decision was a breach of his right under Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 to respect for family life.

While the adoption order was undoubtedly an interference with the father's Art 8 rights, it was in accordance with the law, pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the rights and freedoms of the child, having been made in the child's best interests, and was not disproportionate, given the father's limited relations with the child.

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