Human rights judges have today announced that they will not intervene in a child custody dispute between prospective adoptive parents and the biological parents.
The court confirmed today that the rights of prospective adoptive parents could not override those of the child.
The case Antkowiak v. Poland (application no. 27025/17) was brought by the applicants, who wanted to adopt a baby from a woman who had agreed during her pregnancy to give up her child.
However, she changed her mind when the baby was born.
A legal dispute between the applicants and the biological parents is still ongoing. The child has been in the care of the applicant couple since being born in 2011.
The applicant couple complained under Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) that the Polish courts had decided to order the child’s removal from their care and to place him with his biological parents.
The decision has still to be enforced, pending the outcome of the legal dispute.
In its decision in the case today the European Court of Human Rights has by, a majority, declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.
While acknowledging the emotional suffering that the domestic decision had caused the applicant couple, the court found that the courts had consistently acted in the child’s best interests.
In particular, they had found that it was not too late to give the child, in view of his young age, the chance to be raised by his biological family and had considered that that was the only way to regulate his situation in the long term and avoid more emotional complications in the future.
The courts had come to this conclusion after taking into account the views of all those concerned as well as diverging expert reports and testimony, thus striking a fair balance between conflicting interests in what was a sensitive and complex case.