Execution of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights
L.L against France
(Application No. 7508/02, judgment of 10 October 2006, final on 12 February 2007)
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 in this case, 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 interference with the applicant’s right to respect for private and family life through the production and use in divorce proceedings, of a certain medical document concerning him (violation of Article 8) (see details in Appendix);
Having invited the government of the respondent state to inform the Committee of the measures taken to comply with its 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;
Recalling that a finding of a violation 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(2010)86
Information about the measures to comply with the judgment in the case of
L.L against France
Introductory case summary
The case concerns a breach of the applicant’s right to respect for private and family life through the production and use before the courts, in divorce proceedings lasting four years, of a medical document concerning him (violation of Article 8).
The European Court found that the document in question had been used only on an alternative and secondary basis by the domestic courts, and that they could have disregarded it and still arrived at the same conclusion; consequently, the interference in the applicant’s private life was not necessary in a democratic society (§46 of the judgment). It added that strict scrutiny of the expediency of such measures was made all the more necessary by the limited nature of the guarantees surrounding the use of data relating to the private life of parties to proceedings of this kind (§47 of the judgment).
I. Individual measures
The European Court held that the finding of a violation constituted in itself sufficient redress of the non-pecuniary damage incurred. Moreover, the French authorities also guarantee that the data concerning private life in the divorce case file and judgment are protected by the legislative provisions referred to in the following section on general measures.
Consequently, no further individual measure appears necessary.
II. General measures
The authorities adopted measures designed to ensure close scrutiny, in accordance with the Convention’s requirements, of the expediency of measures constituting interference with private and family life. In particular, the judgment was brought to the attention of all courts having jurisdiction over this type of case, and of the relevant Ministry of Justice directorates. A summary of the Court’s judgment has been presented on the website of the Cour de cassation (section Observatoire du droit européen) since July 2007. Lastly, the European Court’s judgment was sent to the Prosecutor General of the Cour de cassation (and to the Prosecutor General of the Rennes Court of Appeal). French judges giving the Convention direct effect are thus in a position to draw the appropriate inferences directly from this judgment when applying the relevant national provisions.
The authorities have also provided information on the guarantees surrounding the use of data concerning the private lives of parties to proceedings of this kind. They emphasise in this connection that Article 1082-1 of the new Code of Civil Procedure (which came into force on 1/01/2005) absolutely prohibits dissemination of excerpts from a divorce ruling beyond its bare operative clauses. In practical terms, the public has at its disposal on the official website of the French administration (www.service-public.fr) an official notice entitled “Demande de copie d’une décision de justice civile, sociale ou commerciale” (request for copy of a civil, social or commercial court decision (document reference CERFA No 50825#02); this official document indicates that if “you wish to obtain a certified copy of a court decision”, and if “you were not a party to the proceedings”, “you can obtain a copy of the court decisions made public”, but that “in matters of divorce, only an excerpt from the decision can be released to you (Article 1082-1 of the Code of Civil Procedure)”. The authorities further emphasise that in divorce proceedings, the items on the case file (such as the medical certificate at issue in the case of L.L.) are only to be consulted by the parties to the proceedings and their counsel, who are subject to professional secrecy. These provisions are applied stringently and in accordance with the requirements of the Convention (see above about the direct effect of the Convention).
III. Conclusions of the respondent state
The government considers that the general measures adopted will prevent similar violations and that France has thus complied with its obligations under Article 46, paragraph 1 of the Convention.
1 Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 September 2010 at the 1092nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies