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Human Rights - custody/access - return order - Article 8
12 July 2011
Child born in Italy in 2002 to a Latvian mother and Italian father. Parents separated in 2003, having never married. In 2004, the Rome Youth Court granted the mother sole custody and the father rights of access. In 2006, the mother returned to Latvia with the child. The father applied to the Rome Youth Court for interim sole custody and for the return of the child to Italy. The court granted the father's application for interim sole custody but found that it did not have jurisdiction to make the return order. On 16 January 2007, the father commenced proceedings under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention for the return of the child to Italy. On 11 April 2007, the Latvian court refused the father's application on the basis of the mother's defence under Article 13(b). The father then applied to the Rome Youth Court for a return order under Article 11 Brussels II Revised (BIIR), to be enforced in Italy. On 21 April 2008, the court granted the return order and certified it for enforcement in Latvia. On 15 October 2008, the Republic of Latvia brought an action before the European Commission against Italy on the basis that the Rome Youth Court had failed to comply with the BIIR by failing to hear either the mother or child as part of the proceedings and by ignoring the decisions of the Latvian courts. The Commission observed that the mother had been given the opportunity to provide written submissions before the Rome court. The procedure had been in accordance with the requirements under BIIR and had not violated the UN Convention on the Rights of the child. The mother brought a claim before the ECtHR, arguing that her Article 6 and 8 rights had been violated.
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