Cremieux v France (Series A, No 256-B; Application No 11471/85) European Court of Human Rights (1993) 16 EHRR 357 25 February1993

Search and seizure

FACTS:

The applicant was suspected of hiding goods from custom officers. His residence as well as other addresses he had throughout France were confiscated. The applicant filed this suit alleging that the searches and seizures made by customs officers violated Articles 6(3), 8, and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

1. Respect for Private Life, Home, and Correspondence: interference, in accordance with the law, legitimate aim, proportionality (Art 8(1) and (2)).

The court found that the search and seizure made at the applicant's premises' interfered with his rights to respect for his private life, his home, and his correspondence, as secured in Article 8(1). The Court also asserted that interferences may also have a legitimate aim under Article 8(2) of the Convention. In this case, 'the economic well- being of the country' and the regulation to taxes and capital outflows justified such exposures. However, even when a legitimate reason does exist, the relevant law and procedures should afford a defendant adequate and effective safeguards against abuse.

Any exceptions to Article 8 (Namely those outlined in Article 8(2) must be interpreted narrowly. Although contracting States have a certain margin of appreciation in assessing the need for an interference, that interference is always subjected to European supervision.

The following cases are cited in the judgment:

1. Constitutional Council's Decision of 29 December 1983, Official Gazette (Journal Officiel), 30 December 1983, p 3871. 
2. Decision No 83164 DC of 29 December 1983, Official Gazette (Journal Officiel), 30 December 1983, p 3874.
3. KLASS AND OTHERS v GERMANY (A/28): (1978) 2 EHRR 214.

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