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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

11 APR 2007

The Evans Case

The European Court of Human Rights on 10 April 2007 rejected Natallie Evans submission that her human rights were infringed by the UK ruling that her former fiance Howard Johnston was entitled to veto her use of stored embryos. The ECHR said that said there had been no violation of the right to life or the right to respect for private and family life enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, or of the prohibition on discrimination. The Grand Chamber considered that, given the lack of European consensus, the fact that domestic rules were clear and brought to the attention of the applicant and that they struck a fair balance between the competing interests, there had been no violation of the Article. The Court of Appeal had held that both the man and the woman must give their consent for the use of frozen embryos until the time they are implanted.

Evans and Johnston sought fertility treatment at a clinic in Bath in 2001. During an examination Evans was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition of her ovaries. Before her ovaries were removed, she and Johnston had IVF treatment and six embryos were created. They were frozen and put into storage. The couple later separated and Johnston then withdrew his consent for the embryos to be used. He argued he did not want her to have his child because he did not want the financial or emotional burden of being a father to a child he would not bring up.

For a full summary see Cases below and May [2007] Fam Law.

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