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Sahin v. Germany , (30943/96) [2003] ECHR 340 (8 July 2003)

Facts: the applicant was the father of a child born out of wedlock and who was prevented from having contact with her daughter on the ground that the parent's separation had a bad impact on the child's development. The German Regional Court upheld the rejection of the applicant's request and decided not to hear the child in Court. They relied on psychologists and experts' opinions.

Complaint: The applicant claimed that the decision of the Regional Court denying him access to his daughter challenged was a violation of his Article 8 rights.

Holding: the ECHR held that the German courts violated article 8 in failing to hear the child in Court.

Reasoning: when a parent seeks access to the child, accurate and complete information on the child's relationship to the applicant is an indispensable prerequisite for establishing a child's true wishes and thereby striking a fair balance between the interests at stake. Here the Court ruled that the involvement of the applicant in the access proceedings was insufficient and hence violated Article 8.


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