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Family Law

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25 JAN 2007

ADOPTION/HUMAN RIGHTS: Eski v Austria (Application no 21949/03)

(European Court of Human Rights; 25 January 2007)

The mother and father had separated when the child was 2 years old. The court subsequently refused to allow the father to have contact with the child because the father had assaulted and abused the mother during such contact. Although the father stopped making any maintenance payments, he continued to seek contact with the child. When the child was 8 years old, the mother's husband sought to adopt the child. The court rejected the father's objections to the adoption. The father argued that this decision breached his right to respect for family life under Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.

By a majority, there had been no breach of Art 8; the adoption had been within the State's margin of appreciation. A dissenting opinion was given by two of the judges who considered that the reasons given for dispensing with the father's consent had been insufficient.

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