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19 JAN 2007

CONTACT/HUMAN RIGHTS: Zavrel v Czech Republic (Application no 14044/05)

(European Court of Human Rights; 19 January 2007)

The court had approved an agreement between the parents as to father's visiting rights. The child's mother began to prevent the father from exercising those rights and the father eventually issued an application to enforce them. The father's only subsequent contact with the child was in the offices of the expert reporting on contact. Despite the fact that the expert reports were positive about the father and expressed concerns that the mother was trying to alienate the child, the only action taken by the courts was the issue of two formal notices to the mother, and the referral of the parents to the advisory centre.

The toleration by the courts of the mother's consistent refusal to cooperate and the absence of measures aimed at establishing effective contact constituted a violation of Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.

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