Judging the Charter

The Charter in judicial practise with a special focus on the case of protection of refugees and asylum seekers

The right of the child to be heard in cases involving custody proceedings

Case Number: Supreme Court Greece - AP 550/2017

Relevance of Decision

This case is indicative of how the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece (Arios Pagos) interprets the principle of the best interests of the child in cases relating to parental custody.

Facts of the case

Lower Courts awarded exclusive custody of the child to its mother. The father complained, claiming, among others, that those decisions were contrary to article 24(3) CFR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, since they allegedly did not take into account the child’s opinions.

Legal Questions

How should the Court determine what constitutes the “best interests of the child”?

Court Findings

The Court found no violation of the relevant provisions. It stressed that in cases such as the one in question it would generally undertake a broad assessment of all the relevant aspects when determining the best interests of the child. The views of the child are not necessarily a decisive factor in that regard, since they may be temporary and subject to external influences. Instead, an individual assessment must be made each time in order to determine the child’s maturity and whether its views are in fact indicative of its best interests.