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T.P. and K.M. v. United Kingdom , (28945/95) [2001], ECHR (10 May, 2001)

Facts: T.P. was suspected to sexually abuse her daughter K.M. K.M. was thus placed on the Child Protection Register under the category of emotional abuse. They also removed K.M. from the care of her mother immediately. The local authority was awarded care and control of K.M., and T.P. was granted limited access. The applicants later issued proceedings making allegations of negligence and breach of statutory duty against the local authority. They claimed that as a result of their enforced separation each of them had suffered a positive psychiatric disorder.

Complaints: Relying on Articles 8, 6 1 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the applicants alleged that K.M. had been unjustifiably taken into care and separated from her mother T.P. and that they had had no access to court or effective remedy in respect of that interference with their rights. They relied on.

Holding: The ECHR found a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for family life) and of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy). The court did not find a violation of Article 6 (right to a fair trial)

Reasoning: The local authority's failure to submit the issue to the court for determination meant T.P. was not adequately involved in the decision-making process concerning the care of her daughter, K.M., the Court found a failure to respect the applicants' family life and a breach of Article 8. Concerning the compliance with Article 6, the applicants were not prevented from bringing their claims before the domestic courts. The domestic courts were concerned with the application brought by the defendants to have the case struck out as disclosing no reasonable cause of action. There was no denial of access to court and, accordingly, no violation of Article 6. Finally, the Court found that the applicants did not have available to them an appropriate means for obtaining a determination of their allegations that the local authority breached their right to respect for family life and the possibility of obtaining an enforceable award of compensation for the damage suffered thereby. Consequently, they were not afforded an effective remedy. Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 13.

 

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