Pellegrini v Italy: ECHR 2002

The court considered the relationship between the Italian civil courts and the Ecclesiastical Court of the Rome Vicariat, a church court classed by the European Court as a court of the Vatican (properly the Holy See), a state which is not a party to the Convention. Ms Pellegrini married Mr Gigliozzi in 1962 in a religious marriage, which had legal effect in Italy. In 1990 she was granted a decree of separation and an order for maintenance was made in her favour. Meanwhile Mr Gigliozzi brought proceedings in the ecclesiastical court for annulment of the marriage on the grounds of consanguinity. The ecclesiastical court annulled the marriage. She appealed her way through the Italian Courts.
Held: The European Court allowed Ms Pellegrini’s application, finding that the procedure in the ecclesiastical court was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of article 6: ‘The court notes first of all that the declaration of nullity of the applicant’s marriage was issued by the Vatican courts and then made operative by the Italian courts. The Vatican has not ratified the Convention, and the application is moreover directed against Italy: the task of the court is therefore to enquire not into whether the proceedings before the ecclesiastical courts complied with article 6 of the Convention, but into whether the Italian courts, before granting confirmation and execution of the said annulment, duly checked that the proceedings relating thereto satisfied the guarantees contained in article 6; such a check is required, in fact, where the judgment for which confirmation and execution is sought emanates from the courts of a country which does not apply the Convention. Such a check is all the more necessary where execution would have serious implications for the parties.’


(2002) 35 EHRR 44


Human Rights

Cited by:

CitedGovernment of the United States of America v Barnette and Montgomery (No 2) HL 22-Jul-2004
The applicant sought to resist orders for the return to the US of what were alleged to be the proceeds (direct or indirect) of a fraud committed there. She had been in contempt of the court in the US and was a fugitive here. She complained that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 27 May 2022; Ref: scu.200331