By Prof. Marit Skivenes, Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism (University of Bergen)
The backdrop for the Grand Chamber case, is the dissenting Chamber judgment of 2017 – Strand Lobben vs. Norway – about a boy that had been adopted from foster care. Here, the Chamber concluded it had not been a violation of the mother´s right to respect for family life under Article 8 due to the Chamber’s strong emphasis on the child’s best interest and his de facto family situation, as well as his need for permanency. The dissenting minority of three judges argued for the importance of legal (de jure) bonds and the negative effects of cutting biological ties. In the Grand Chamber judgment, a majority of 13 judges concluded that Norway had violated the applicants’ right to family life on procedural grounds – not on the merits of adoption from care. By this, the Court bypassed a discussion on the tensions and challenges children´s strong position as right bearers implies for the traditional relationships between family and the state.
Although, the Grand Chamber judgement is a disappointment for some and a relief for others, I believe that from a child´s rights perspective there are three important messages that should be addressed: Continue reading