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Rieme v. Sweden , 220 Eur. Ct. H.R. 53 (ser. A) (1992), 22-04-1992

Facts: The applicant was a Finnish citizen who resided in Sweden and had a daughter with Mrs J who had legal custody of the child. The Southern Social District Council decided that the child be taken into public care, pursuant to the Child Welfare Act 1960, because of her mother's alcohol problems. She was placed in a foster home shortly afterwards. The applicant obtained an order transferring the legal custody of the child to him. However the applicant was prevented from removing the child from the foster home on the ground that there was a risk that her mental health would thereby be harmed. The applicant and his daughter could only meet on a regular basis at the foster home and at his home but she always had to return to the foster care center.

Complaint: the applicant's complained that the Swedish authorities had hindered reunion with his child in violation of Article 8.

Holding: the ECHR did not a violation of article 8.

Reasoning: The implementation of the public care order and the subsequent prohibition on removal constituted an interference with the applicant's right to respect for family life. However, this interference was "in accordance with law" and had the legitimate aims of protecting the child's "health" and "rights and freedoms". The reasons for the decision to prohibit removal and the judgments upholding it were relevant and sufficient. The Swedish authorities also acted within their margin of appreciation because the interference was not disproportionate to the legitimate aims pursued.


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