Execution of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights
P.M. against the United Kingdom
(Application No. 6638/03, judgment of 19 July 2005, final on 19 October 2005)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which provides that the Committee supervises the execution of final judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” and “the Court”);
Having regard to the judgment transmitted by the Court to the Committee once it had become final;
Recalling that the violation of the Convention found by the Court in this case concerns the refusal to allow an unmarried father separated from the mother of his child the tax deduction for child maintenance payments available to a separated or divorced father who had once been married to a child's mother (Article 14 in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1) (see details in Appendix);
Having invited the government of the respondent state to inform the Committee of the measures taken to comply with the United Kingdom's obligation under Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Convention to abide by the judgment;
Having examined the information provided by the government in accordance with the Committee's Rules for the application of Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention;
Having satisfied itself that, within the time-limit set, the respondent state paid the applicant the just satisfaction provided in the judgment (see details in Appendix),
Recalling that a finding of violations by the Court requires, over and above the payment of just satisfaction awarded by the Court in its judgments, the adoption by the respondent state, where appropriate:
- of individual measures to put an end to the violations and erase their consequences so as to achieve as far as possible restitutio in integrum; and
- of general measures, preventing similar violations;
DECLARES, having examined the measures taken by the respondent state (see Appendix), that it has exercised its functions under Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention in this case and
DECIDES to close the examination of this case.
Appendix to Resolution CM/ResDH(2009)143
Information about the measures to comply with the judgment in the case of
P.M. against the United Kingdom
Introductory case summary
The case concerns discrimination suffered by the applicant, an unmarried father separated from the mother of his child: in the 1998-1999 tax year, he was refused a tax deduction, granted to separated or divorced fathers who had once been married to the mothers of their children, for child maintenance payments, on the ground that he had never been married to the mother of his child.
Given that he had duly fulfilled his financial obligations towards his daughter, the Court found no objective ground for treating him differently from a married father, divorced or separated from the mother, as regards to the tax deductibility of such payments (violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1).
I. Payment of just satisfaction and individual measures
a) Details of just satisfaction
Costs and expenses
7 900 EUR
8 192 EUR
Paid within the time-limit.
b) Individual measures
As to just satisfaction, the Court awarded the applicant a sum corresponding to the tax deduction he was refused in the 1998-1999 tax year. He also claimed and received tax relief on child maintenance payments made in the 1999-2000 tax year. Qualifying maintenance payments were abolished for payments made as of 06/04/2000 except in one very specific circumstance, which does not apply in the applicant's case (see the general measures below).
II. General measures
After 06/04/2000 the tax deductibility of maintenance payments was abolished, except where one of the parties to the marriage was born before 06/03/1935 (section 347B (1A) Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 inserted by section 36 of the Finance Act 1999).
On 05/12/2005, shortly after the present judgment, Regulation 67 of the Tax and Civil Partnership Regulations 2005 (SI 3229/2005) extended the limited tax exemption to payments made between parents for the maintenance of a child regardless of whether the parents had ever been married to each other. On 13/01/2006 updates on the position regarding maintenance payments were published on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HRMC) website, available to the public.
Publication of the Court's judgment: The judgment of the Court appeared in The Times Law Reports on 15/09/2005 under the heading “M v. UK”. An article on the decision was published in The Taxation (a tax journal) on 18/08/2005 and on the website of the Low Incomes Tax Return Group on 10/08/2005. The judgment was brought to the attention of all tax offices.
III. Conclusions of the respondent state
The government considers that the measures adopted will prevent similar violations and that the United Kingdom has thus complied with its obligations under Article 46, paragraph 1 of the Convention.
1 Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 3 December 2009 at the 1072nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies