(European Court of Human Rights, 17 July 2012)
The mother and two children claimed a breach of their rights under Arts 6, 8 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, in that they were denied access to the courts in order to challenge a care order following a change of circumstances.
Criminal proceedings against the mother and father found them both guilty of cruelty and excessive correction and they were given custodial sentences. A care order was made but the mother then sought constitutional redress in respect of the fact that once a care order was issued there was no availability for a re-examination by an independent tribunal.
The Maltese Court found a violation of Arts 6 and 13 but no violation of Art 8 but refused to revoke the care order as the mother's parental rights had been terminated when the care order was made and therefore she had no standing to seek revocation.
The ECHR found there had been a breach of Arts 6 and 8 of the European Convention.