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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

09 JAN 2013

CONTACT/ARTICLE 8: Ball v Andorra (App No 40628/10)

(European Court of Human Rights, 11 December 2012)

The father, a British national, in reliance of Arts 6 and 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, alleged that the refusal of the High Court of Andorra to enforce a final parent/child contact order had violated his right to maintain meaningful contact with his two children.

After initial contact arrangements were put in place contact was suspended pending a psychologist report following claims by the wife that the health of the son was being affected by the tense relationship between the parents. Contact with the daughter was subsequently restored but not with the son. A psychotherapeutic assessment of the son, mother and father was ordered. According to the psychologist the resumption of contact was not recommended until comprehensive treatment of the children had been carried out.

The father's appeals including to the Constitutional court were dismissed. The father claimed the domestic courts had failed to take all necessary steps to ensure he had contact with his children in breach of Arts 6 and 8 of the European Convention.

In the particular circumstances of the case the domestic authorities had not failed to fulfil their positive obligations under Art 8 of the European Convention. The domestic courts always had the best interests of the children in mind and relied on expert reports and other objective evidence when they decided to suspend the contact schedule set up in favour of the father. There had been no breach of the father's rights under the European Convention.

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