CONTACT: Nowak v Poland (App No 11118/06)

17 JUN 2010

(European Court of Human Rights; 8 June 2009)

The mother refused to facilitate contact between the father and the child. The authorities frequently and successfully intervened to enable contact to take place. The child began to resist contact. The court refused to impose fines on the mother on the basis that forced contact was not good for the child. The child, now a teenager, did not seek contact with the father. The father alleged that failure to facilitate contact was a breach of Art 8.

Held that the obligation to take measures to facilitate contact is not absolute and there was no violation of Art 8. A key consideration was whether the authorities had taken all necessary steps to facilitate contact such as could reasonably be demanded in the special circumstances of the case. There were difficulties in arranging contact due in large measure to animosity between the parents and subsequently to the child's attitude. It was relevant that the father did not seek any contact for about four years.

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