Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Progress towards child-centrism at the ECtHR?

COMMENTARY: Luhamaa and Krutzinna discuss the judgement in “Pedersen et al. v. Norway” and its implications.

In March this year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered their judgment in Pedersen et al. v. Norway. The ECtHR concluded that Norway violated the right to respect for family life (Article 8) when implementing child protection measures.

In a commentary article published in the Strasbourg Observers, senior researchers Katre Luhamaa and Jenny Krutzinna analyse the judgment, where the Court addressed the issues of adoption and post-adoption contact.

Luhamaa and Krutzinna argue that the judgment makes some progress in the shift towards child centrism at the ECtHR:

“Importantly, the Court makes it clear in Pedersen that post-adoption contact alone does not suffice; the child must be given an opportunity to develop a ‘meaningful relationship’ with their biological parents.

This concept introduces a new, qualitative element to the child’s right to respect for family life, which we believe has the potential for a significant child-centric shift in the way contact decisions are made and will have significant implications on national child protection agencies’ contact practices for children in long-term placements.”

However, the authors also note that the Court failed to shift its practice to allow for a better representation of the child.

Read the full article.


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