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Niemietz v. Federal Republic of Germany , 251 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1992).

Facts: German law enforcement authorities searched the law office premises of the applicant to find the identity of someone who had written an insulting letter under a false name, which was a criminal offense in Germany.

Complaint: the applicant claimed a violation of his right to respect for his home and correspondence as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention.

Holding: the ECHR found a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

Reasoning: "the notion of "private life" should [not] be taken to exclude activities of a professional or business nature." Even if the interference had a legitimate aim, namely preventing crime and protecting others, it was not proportionate to the aims claimed because "the search impinged on professional secrecy to an extent that appears disproportionate in the circumstances."

 

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