Neulinger And Shuruk v Switzerland: ECHR 6 Jul 2010

(Grand Chamber) The Swiss Court had rejected the claimant mother’s claim, under article 13b of the Hague Convention, that there was a grave risk that returning the child to Israel would lead to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place him in an intolerable situation.
Held: To enforce the order would be an unjustifiable interference with the right to respect for the private and family lives of mother and child, protected by article 8. The Court observed that ‘the Convention cannot be interpreted in a vacuum but must be interpreted in harmony with the general principles of international law. Account should be taken . . of ‘any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties’ and in particular the rules concerning the international protection of human rights’. The Court noted that ‘there is currently a broad consensus – including in international law – in support of the idea that in all decisions concerning children, their best interests must be paramount’.
In a Hague Convention case an in-depth examination of the issues was mandated by the parties’ Article 8 ECHR rights to respect for family and private life.
The Court explained the concept of the child’s best interests: ‘The child’s interest comprises two limbs. On the one hand, it dictates that the child’s ties with its family must be maintained, except in cases where the family has proved particularly unfit. It follows that family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances and that everything must be done to preserve personal relations and, if and when appropriate, to ‘rebuild’ the family (see Gnahore, cited above, para 59). On the other hand, it is clearly also in the child’s interest to ensure its development in a sound environment, and a parent cannot be entitled under article 8 to have such measures taken as would harm the child’s health and development (see, among many other authorities, Elsholz v Germany (2002) 34 EHRR 58 at [50], and Marsalek v the Czech Republic, no 8153/04, [2006] ECHR 321, at [71], 4 April 2006).’


41615/07, [2010] ECHR 1053, (2010) 28 BHRC 706, [2011] 1 FLR 122, [2011] 2 FCR 110, [2010] Fam Law 1273, (2012) 54 EHRR 31




European Convention on Human Rights, Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980


Human Rights

Cited by:

CitedZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 1-Feb-2011
The respondent had arrived and claimed asylum. Three claims were rejected, two of which were fraudulent. She had two children by a UK citizen, and if deported the result would be (the father being unsuitable) that the children would have to return . .
CitedETK v News Group Newspapers Ltd CA 19-Apr-2011
The claimant appealed against refusal of an injunction to restrain the defendant newspaper from publishing his name in connection with a forthcoming article. The claimant had had an affair with a co-worker. Both were married. The relationship ended, . .
CitedRe E (Children) (Abduction: Custody Appeal) SC 10-Jun-2011
Two children were born in Norway to a British mother (M) and Norwegian father (F). Having lived in Norway, M brought them to England to stay, but without F’s knowledge or consent. M replied to his application for their return that the children would . .
CitedDT v LBT FD 7-Dec-2010
. .
DoubtedRe S (A Child) SC 14-Mar-2012
The mother appealed against an order confirmed by the Court of Appeal for the return of her child to Australia. The mother and father had cohabited in Sydney, before M returned with S without F’s consent or the permission of an Australian court. The . .
CitedHH v Deputy Prosecutor of The Italian Republic, Genoa SC 20-Jun-2012
In each case the defendant sought to resist European Extradition Warrants saying that an order would be a disporportionate interference in their human right to family life. The Court asked whether its approach as set out in Norris, had to be amended . .
CitedANS and Another v ML SC 11-Jul-2012
The mother opposed adoption proceedings, and argued that the provision in the 2007 Act, allowing a court to dispense with her consent, infringed her rights under Article 8 and was therefore made outwith the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
CitedZoumbas v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 27-Nov-2013
The appellant challenged a decision that he did not qualify for asylum or humanitarian protection and that his further representations were not a fresh human rights claim under paragraph 353 of the Immigration Rules. He argued that the return to the . .
CitedSG and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions SC 18-Mar-2015
The court was asked whether it was lawful for the Secretary of State to make subordinate legislation imposing a cap on the amount of welfare benefits which can be received by claimants in non-working households, equivalent to the net median earnings . .
CitedThe Christian Institute and Others v The Lord Advocate SC 28-Jul-2016
(Scotland) By the 2014 Act, the Scottish Parliament had provided that each child should have a named person to monitor that child’s needs, with information about him or her shared as necessary. The Institute objected that the imposed obligation to . .
CitedMakhlouf v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 16-Nov-2016
(Northern Ireland) The appellant (born in Tunisia) was made subject to a deportation order. He had married a UK citizen and they had a child. After moving to the UK, at various times, the relationship broke down and he was convicted of several . .
CitedMM (Lebanon) and Others, Regina (on The Applications of) v Secretary of State and Another SC 22-Feb-2017
Challenge to rules requiring certain minimum levels of income (Minimum Income Requirement – MIR) for allowing entry for non-EEA spouse.
Held: The challenges udder the Human Rights Act to the Rules themselves failed. Nor did any separate issue . .
CitedDA and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions SC 15-May-2019
Several lone parents challenged the benefits cap, saying that it was discriminatory.
Held: (Hale, Kerr LL dissenting) The parents’ appeals failed. The legislation had a clear impact on lone parents and their children. The intention was to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Children, International

Updated: 07 February 2022; Ref: scu.420469