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23 OCT 2006

HUMAN RIGHTS: Paulik v Slovakia (Application No 10699/05)

(European Court of Human Rights; 10 October 2006)

Many years after the Slovakian court had ruled that the applicant was the father of the child, the applicant obtained DNA evidence which showed that he was not. It proved impossible under domestic legislation for the applicant to challenge the original court ruling, even though the child in question was now an adult, with children of her own, had provided the applicant with the DNA and supported the applicant's attempt to overturn the paternity ruling. The applicant argued that the Slovakian authorities had breached his Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 rights, and had discriminated against him.

The Slovakian legal system had failed to secure respect for the applicant's private life. In cases in which paternity had been presumed, rather than tested, parents were able to take legal steps to contest the paternity ruling subsequently, but the domestic law made no allowance for the specific circumstances of the applicant's case. There was no reasonable relationship of proportionality between the aim sought by the legislation and the absolute means employed.

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