X and Y v The Netherlands: ECHR 26 Mar 1985

A parent complained to the police about a sexual assault on his daughter a mentally defective girl of 16. The prosecutor’s office decided not to prosecute provided the accused did not repeat the offence. X appealed against the decision and requested the court to direct that proceedings be brought. The appeal was dismissed partly on the ground that although the girl was incapable of making the complaint herself, no one else was entitled to complain on her behalf. The claim was brought under Article 8, the right to private and family life.
Held: There was a violation of Article 8. No prosecution could be instituted because of a ‘procedural obstacle which the Dutch legislature had apparently not foreseen’, that obstacle being the Dutch law provision which meant that, although the applicant was unable herself to present her case in court due to her mental handicap no one else was entitled to complain on her behalf. The term ‘private life’ covers the physical and psychological integrity of a person.

8978/80, (1985) 8 EHRR 235, [1985] ECHR 4
Worldlii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 8
Cited by:
CitedX, A Woman Formerly Known As Mary Bell v Stephen O’Brien, News Group Newspapers Ltd MGN Ltd QBD 21-May-2003
An injunction effective against the world, was granted to restrain any act to identify the claimant in the media, including the Internet. She had been convicted of murder when a child, and had since had a child herself. An order had been granted . .
CitedC Plc and W v P and Secretary of State for the Home Office and the Attorney General ChD 26-May-2006
The claimant sought damages from the first defendant for breach of copyright. An ex parte search order had been executed, with the defendant asserting his privilege against self-incrimination. As computer disks were examined, potentially unlawful . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
CitedPearce v Mayfield School CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant teacher was a lesbian. She complained that her school in failed to protect her against abuse from pupils for her lesbianism. She appealed against a decision that the acts of the pupils did not amount to discrimination, and that the . .
CitedIn re W (Children) (Family proceedings: Evidence) (Abuse: Oral Evidence) SC 3-Mar-2010
The court considered the approach to be taken when considering whether to order a child’s attendance at court in care proceedings. It was argued that the starting point of assuming that a child should not attend, failed to respect the human right to . .
CitedGujra, Regina (on The Application of) v Crown Prosecution Service SC 14-Nov-2012
The appellant had twice begun private prosecutions only to have them taken over by the CPS and discontinued. He complained that a change in their policy on such interventions interfered with his statutory and constitutional right to bring such a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.164944