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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

21 NOV 2006

PATERNITY: Tavli v Turkey (Application No 11449/02)

(European Court of Human Rights; 9 November 2006)

The mother's husband disputed his paternity of the child immediately after the birth of the child. The results of the blood test suggested that the husband could possibly have been the father, and on that basis the court refused to overturn the presumption of paternity. After DNA testing became available, the husband was able to establish conclusively that he was not the father of the child, but he was unable to have the previous decision rectified, because the domestic court held that scientific progress could not be used as a ground to reopen the proceedings.

The State had not struck a fair balance between the protection of legal certainty of family relationships and the husband's right to have the legal presumption of paternity reviewed in the light of conclusive biological evidence. The domestic courts should interpret existing legislation in the light of scientific progress and its social repercussions. There had been a breach of Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.

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