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HUMAN RIGHTS/CARE: HK v Finland (Application No 36065/97)

Date:10 OCT 2006

(European Court of Human Rights; 26 September 2006) [2006] 2 FLR (forthcoming)

The 4-year-old child had been removed from the father on suspicion of sexual abuse. Notwithstanding the father's objections, an emergency care order was made, placing the child with the mother in order that examinations could take place. For a period the child lived with the mother and saw the father only under supervision. Later, further restrictions were placed on the father's access to child. Over 4 years after the original removal, the father having been acquitted of the sexual abuse charges, the child returned to live with the father.

The child had been placed in emergency care in the absence of a formal decision by the authorities, contrary to the provisions of domestic Finnish law. The father had been given no opportunity to contest the restrictions on his access to the child. Accordingly, the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that there had been a violation of Art 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.