The applicant, Mr Ahrens, had intimate contact for couple of times with Ms P although she was living together with another man, Mr M. Ms P became pregnant and when the child was born, Mr M acknowledged paternity of the child. Mr Ahrens challanged Mr M's paternity in court. After DNA test were made, it was found that Mr Ahrens is the biological father of child. However, Mr Ahren's paternity was not legally recognized to protect the best interests of child, as social and family relationship had already formed between Mr M and the child who were living together since the child’s birth.
Mr Ahrens complained that the domestic courts’ refusal to allow him to challenge Mr M.’s paternity and to have his own paternity legally established violated his right to respect for his private and family life.
The Court noted that the right to family life of Mr Ahrens had not been interfered with, as he and Ms P never intended to have family relationship and he had never showed any wish to take care of the child. However, the rejection of Mr Ahren’s request to legally establish his paternity of the child interfered with his right to respect for his private life.
The Court agreed that the decision of national courts was based on national legislation and it was aimed to protect the family ties between Ms P, Mr M and the child. Regarding its necessity, the Court stated that:
- As there is no consensus between the European states whether to allow the biological father to challenge the paternity of the legal father, states have wide margin of appreciation in determining whether to allow it or not. Therefore the limitation of Mr Ahren's right to submit a paternity claim itself did not violate his right to private life.
- The proceedings were found fair by the Court as well, as the national courts had sufficiently established the relevant facts.
- Mr Ahren's had never inclined any interest towards the child. In contrast, the relationship between the child and Mr M was described as a loving family relationship.
Therefore no violation of Article 8 of the Convention was found by the Court.