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Godelli v. Italy - 33783/09 Judgment 25.9.2012 [Section II] Article 8
Respect for private life
Inability of child abandoned at birth to gain access to non-identifying information or to make request for mother to waive confidentiality: violation
Facts – The applicant was abandoned at birth by her mother, who did not consent to being named on the birth certificate. In 2006 the applicant requested rectification of the birth certificate. The court refused her request on the ground that, in accordance with Law no. 184/1983, she was prohibited from gaining access to the information concerning her origins because her mother, at the time of the birth, had not agreed to have her identity disclosed. That judgment was upheld on appeal. Law – Article 8: The issue in the present case was whether a fair balance had been struck in weighing the competing rights and interests at stake, namely the applicant’s interest in learning about her origins on the one hand and the mother’s interest in not disclosing her identity on the other. An individual’s interest in discovering his or her parentage did not disappear with age, quite the reverse. In contrast to the French system examined in the Odièvre v. France judgment,* the Italian legislation did not strive to strike a balance between the competing rights and interests at stake. The applicant’s request for access to information concerning her mother and birth family, enabling her to trace some of her roots while ensuring the protection of third-party interests, had met with a blanket and final refusal without any possibility of appeal. In the absence of any mechanism for balancing the applicant’s right to discover her origins against the mother’s rights and interests in preserving her anonymity, the latter were automatically given preference. Where the birth mother had opted not to disclose her identity, the Italian legislation did not provide any means for a child who was adopted and had not been formally recognised at birth to request access to non-identifying information on his or her origins or the waiver of confidentiality by the mother. Furthermore, whereas legislative reform in France now made this possible, a bill on reforming the system had been before the Italian parliament for four years and had still not been passed. Accordingly, the Court considered that the Italian authorities had not sought to strike a balance and ensure proportion between the interests of the parties concerned and had therefore overstepped their margin of appreciation.
Conclusion: violation (six votes to one). Article 41: EUR 5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
- Referință în baza de date HUDOC
- Decizia Curții (în engleză)
- Comunicat de presă privitor la cauza Godelli vs. Italia, document bilingv română-engleză, disponibil aici
- ARPCC ref. [ngo2581]